The Indian government has recently announced the formation of three grievance appellate committees to handle complaints against online platforms. These committees will be formed to oversee and revoke content moderation decisions taken by social media and internet-based platforms. The government has specified that the appellate platform will become operational from March 1, 2023.
What are the grievance appellate committees?
The grievance appellate committees are government-formed committees that will handle complaints against online platforms. These committees will be responsible for overseeing and revoking content moderation decisions taken by social media and internet-based platforms.
Who will be a part of these committees?
Each committee will have a chairperson, two full-time members from different government entities and retired executives from the industry for a term of three years. The first panel will be chaired by the CEO of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre under the Ministry of Home Affairs. The whole-time members of the panel appointed are retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Ashutosh Shukla, and Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) former chief general manager and chief information officer Sunil Soni.
How will the committees function?
The committees will adopt an online dispute resolution mechanism where the entire appeal process, right from filing to the final decision, will be done online. Social media companies will have to compile every order passed by the committee and report them on their website. Users who are not satisfied with the content moderation decision taken by a social media company’s grievance officer can appeal before the government-appointed appeals committee. The committees can seek assistance from experts with relevant subject matter expertise while dealing with appeals.
What is the timeline for the appeal process?
Users will be allowed to file an appeal to the appellate committee within 30 days. The appellate committees will have to resolve the appeal within a month from the receipt of the appeal. The government’s decision to set up grievance appellate committees for online platforms is a step towards ensuring a fair and transparent appeals process for content moderation decisions. The committees, which will become operational from March 1, 2023, will adopt an online dispute resolution mechanism, making the process more efficient and accessible for users. Social media companies will also be required to report the committee’s decisions on their website, promoting transparency and accountability.
Note: Content moderation decisions by social media companies refer to the actions taken by these companies to remove or restrict access to certain types of content that violate their terms of service or community guidelines. These decisions may include removing posts, disabling accounts, or blocking content that is deemed to be offensive, harmful, or in violation of the company’s policies.