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Center reports plan for panel to decide social media content | Latest India News

The Center brought back a proposal on Monday to change the rules that govern social media companies, including a plan to create a new government-appointed committee that experts say will effectively take the final call on content that remains in place or is removed from sites like Twitter and Facebook.

The announcement was made in a press note from the Department of Electronics and Computers (Meity), which had withdrawn the draft proposal hours after it was first posted online last week, when it triggered strong reaction online.

Monday’s statement reinstates the proposal in the same form, with further explanation of the changes the government plans to make to the 2021 information technology rules (guidelines for intermediaries and media ethics code). digital). The guidelines, known as the IT Rules, 2021, has already been suspended by several high courts after being challenged as unconstitutional.

“The objectives of these rules (the new Intermediary Guidelines) are to ensure an open, safe, reliable and responsible Internet for all Indian internet users and digital Nagriks. These rules have succeeded in creating a new sense of responsibility among intermediaries towards their users, particularly within Big Tech platforms,” the government statement read.

The amendments have now been released for public input, which the government will accept over the next 30 days.

The proposed changes also include a 72-hour deadline for companies to act on complaints if they fall under one of ten types of infringement defined by the government, including copyright infringement, defamatory content and fake news.

If the intermediary – the legal classification of a social media company – does not comply with IT rules, it will be liable to lose its status as a “safe harbour” under Article 79 of the Information Technology Act. information, which exempts these companies from responsibility for what is posted by its users.

The main concerns, however, relate to the Grievance Redress Board, a panel where users can challenge any decisions made by social media companies in terms of removing content or a user’s access to the service.

“Every order made by the Grievance Appeals Committee must be complied with by the relevant intermediary,” the proposed rules say. It also established a 30-day window for the committee to make an appeal decision.

“This is necessitated as there is currently no appeal mechanism provided by intermediaries nor any credible self-regulatory mechanism in place,” the government statement said, justifying a decision which experts say will give the administration the last word on online discourse. .

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