Government withdraws draft proposal on social media appellate panel

By amending the Information Technology Rules, the government withdrew the draft note regarding the proposal to form grievance appellate panels to take final decisions on social media takedowns.

Even though there was no official announcement, the proposed draft amendment note was missing from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology website. After incorporating some other issues, a revised draft would be published again.

Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 will be revised for this purpose.

A Grievance Appellate Committee or Committees will be established by the government to handle appeals from users against the decisions of Grievance Officers for social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube.

In light of instances of accounts being blocked by social media platforms such as Twitter for alleged violations of community guidelines, the proposed move assumes significance.

IAF director Apar Gupta tweeted about the proposal, saying, “Government is setting up a committee where citizens can appeal if they want something removed from social media or contest the removal of content by a social media company. This will be under ministerial supervision and tasked by bureaucrats. Consequences? I leave it up to the imagination.”

The new rules aim to regulate social media content and make them more accountable, according to the government.