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Government weighs panel to rule on appeals against social media content removals


India is considering setting up an appeal board with the power to overrule content moderation decisions by social media companies, the information technology ministry has said, in what would be the first such move in the world.

The revelation came in a document seeking comment on proposed IT rule changes that came into force last year and aim to regulate social media content, making companies such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter more accountable.

The document, released Thursday, proposed one or more such appeal committees. It set a 30-day deadline for appeals against the decisions of the company’s complaints officers, while the commissions themselves have an additional 30 days to take up the case.

Social media companies are already required to have an internal grievance officer and designate executives to coordinate with law enforcement officials.

“The intermediary must respect the rights granted to citizens under the constitution,” the draft rules say in a newly added section, referring to social media companies.

India ranks among the world’s largest sources of government requests to take down content from Twitter Inc and Meta Platforms Inc. The ministry’s plan aims to increase government control of social media platforms by allowing it to appoint officers to oversee content moderation decisions, said Apar Gupta of digital advocacy group Internet Freedom Foundation.

“This is problematic because this committee will have no autonomy and is being formed without any clear statutory or legal basis,” added Gupta, the group’s chief executive.

Tension has flared between India’s nationalist government and Twitter, which last year refused to fully comply with orders to remove accounts and posts accused of spreading misinformation about farmers’ protests against the government.

Last year, government officials said social media platforms may no longer be eligible to seek liability waivers as intermediaries or hosts of user content if they fail to comply with national information and technology.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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