Social Media

Centre Launches Appellate Panel For Social Media Platforms

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IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Tuesday launched a grievance appellate panel mechanism that will look into appeals by users against decisions of social media platforms, according to a PTI report.

The digital platform, Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC), is a powerful tool for ensuring accountability of platforms to their users. This is one more milestone in the evolving framework to ensure the internet is open, safe and trusted,” said Chandrasekhar in a statement.

In December 2022, it was reported that the centre had plans to set up three grievance appellate committees (GACs) to look into complaints by users against decisions of social media platforms. It was also stated that Information Technology (IT) rules had been strengthened in October to pave the way for formation of the centre-appointed panels to settle often-ignored user grievances against the way social media platforms addressed their complaints regarding content and other matters. The main aim of the panel was to review content moderation decisions by social media companies like Meta and Twitter which are able to overrule decisions of the big tech firms on takedown or blocking requests. Reportedly, the government had already clarified that the move was necessitated due to the casual and tokenism approach of digital platforms towards user complaints.

The recent report stated that the chairpersons and other members of the three GACs constituted by the government will not have any office and not conduct any physical hearings. From the time of the filing of the complaints by users to hearing them and pronouncing the final order, everything will be conducted online.

“GAC is an institution whose main aim is to ensure that grievance redressal mechanisms of platforms are functional, responsive to people, and as an exception when that function is unable to resolve a grievance, the appeals will come to GAC,” Chandrasekhar added.

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