Social Media News: Center Seeks Power to Override Social Media Companies | India Business News

NEW DELHI: The government wants to arm itself with powers to reverse decisions by major social media companies such as Twitter, Facebook, Google and Instagram to suspend, block or delete user accounts for various violations, and is also looking for new levers that will force internet majors to remove content when directed to a user’s complaint.
The changes have been proposed through a draft, which aims to amend the controversial 2021 Information Technology Rules (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Code of Ethics) from last year. appeal committee (GAC) – started making the rounds, it was removed from the IT Department website.

When contacted, IT Ministry sources insisted that “not much should be read about the deletion” of the project, saying it would be “back soon”. They declined to share further details.
The project, owned by YOUalso proposes a greater burden on social media companies while dealing with illegal and inflammatory content, and says they should step up vigilance and “ensure compliance” with rules and regulations, privacy policy and agreement agreements. ‘use.
Legal researcher Gurshabad Grover said the move, if implemented, would give the government the “final say” when it comes to removing content or reinstating suspended accounts. “Indirectly, the government will be able to censor content that it cannot otherwise do directly in a way that complies with the laws.”
In the proposal that will pit the internet giants against a direct confrontation with the government, the draft wants companies to become more careful before suspending/blocking/deleting the account of any user, and proposes that the decision can be reversed by the official committee. (GAC) in the event that a user does not find relief against the adverse action by the Company’s Grievance Officer.
“Any person aggrieved by an order made by the Grievance Officer…may appeal to the relevant Grievance Appeals Committee (GAC) within 30 days of receipt of the communication from the grievance officer. grievance officer. The GAC will deal with such appeals promptly and will endeavor to finalize the appeal within 30 calendar days from the date of receipt of the appeal. Every order placed by the GAC must be complied with by the relevant intermediary,” the draft states.
It is proposed that the GAC – which may be more than one – be established by central government and consist of a chair and other members.
The issue of suspending or blocking accounts has been contentious, and social media teams have often been accused of being high-handed on the issue by refusing to provide explicit reasons for taking action against accounts deemed to be gossiping. against their content policy. And while interim rules that came out last year gave users refuge to seek redress from the company’s grievance manager, rulings are rarely overturned.
The draft said companies should be more aware of the rights of Indian citizens and should not take arbitrary action. “…the intermediary must respect the rights granted to citizens under the Constitution of India,” he said, while adding, “the intermediary must take all reasonable steps to ensure the accessibility of its services to users as well as a reasonable expectation of due diligence, confidentiality and transparency.
In addition to gaining the power to rescind suspend or freeze orders, the new draft also proposes other mandatory orders to the GAC, particularly when it comes to “removing an informational link or of communication” after a user complains. The request for removal of content can relate to a wide variety of areas such as pornography, defamation, obscenity, libel, copyright infringement and information against the safety and security of the country.
The draft stated that if a user is not satisfied with the company’s response to their request to remove content, the GAC can be contacted within 30 days. The GAC would then decide the matter within 30 days, and its decision “must be respected” by the social media company.