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Govt looking to finalise new social media rules before July-end: MoS IT

The government is “open” to big tech platforms suggesting an effective self-regulatory appellate mechanism that can offer a “better solution” to resolve grievances raised by social media users, IT minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar said on Tuesday, asserting new amendments to social media rules will be finalised before July end after extensive consultations.

The comment assumes significance as the Centre is proposing to set up a grievance appellate committee to look into appeals filed by individuals against decisions of grievance officers of social media platforms.

Besides, the panel has to dispose of the appeals within 30 days of receiving them and its decision will be binding on the intermediaries or the large social media companies concerned, according to the amendments being proposed in the IT rules.

“If the industry suggests…their own way of addressing grievance appellate, we are open….this is a consultation… If someone has a better, more efficient solution, we are open to a better idea,” Chandrasekhar told reporters.

The minister said that the proposed amendment is aimed at offering “additional avenues” for grievance redressal to social media users.

“It is our thinking that if the industry, and these platforms come up with own self-regulatory, self redressal appellate mechanism, we are open to it,” the minister said, noting that the users currently don’t have any such mechanism to turn to.

If industry forms its own framework of addressing grievance of consumers and making sure there is accountability, the government will be open to such suggestions.

Grievances are not effectively being resolved in the current framework, he observed.

The appellate jurisdiction issue arises in the cases where big tech platforms do not adhere to the spirit of the grievance officer mechanism and the grievance redressal model, which has been put into place in the rules.

“The idea of a grievance officer was that he/she would address the grievance raised by the consumer… that is the whole idea of accountability. But, many a times we have seen reports that consumers send letters/ complaints to the grievance officers and they just get acknowledgment, but nothing happens,” he said. PTI

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