Monday, June 17, 2024

Union govt forms panels to oversee social media content moderation

The Union government on Friday notified the formation of three Grievance Appellate Committees which will have control over content moderation decisions taken by social media platforms in India.

“In exercise of the powers conferred by sub-rules (1) and (2) of rule 3A of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, the Central Government hereby establishes the following three Grievance Appellate Committees and appoints thereto the following persons as chairperson and members…” read the gazette by Union government.

Each committees having a chairperson and two whole- time members. The chairpersons are government officers, while the members are retired government officials and senior executives from various industries.

The new move effectively means that if social media users are not satisfied with the decision of a social media platform on whether to remove or moderate any content, they could now file an appeal with these panels.

The move was criticised by many digital rights groups. They had said that the Union government’s move will “incentivise social media platforms to remove/suppress any speech unpalatable to the government.”

The Union information technology ministry had announced the measure in October.

The chief executive officer of the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre under the Ministry of Home Affairs will chair the first panel. Retired IPS officer Ashutosh Shukla and Punjab National Bank’s former Chief General Manager and Chief Information Officer Sunil Soni have been appointed as the whole-time members of the panel.

The joint secretary in charge of the Policy and Administration Division in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting will chair the second panel. Retired Indian Navy Commodore Sunil Kumar Gupta and Kavindra Sharma, the former vice-president (consulting) of L&T Infotech, have been appointed as the whole-time members of the second panel.

The third panel will be chaired by a senior scientist at the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. Former Traffic Service Officer of the Indian Railways Sanjay Goel and former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of IDBI Intech Krishnagiri Ragothamarao have been appointed as the whole-time members of the third committee.

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