Social Media Giants to set up Self-regulatory body in India to attend content intricacies

Social Media

Global tech giants including Meta, Twitter, and Google have started work on creating a self-regulatory body to address social media users’ requests for content and takedown issues as the Indian government strengthens its control over social media platforms.

Social media intermediaries are likely to forward the plan to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) by the end of this week or the beginning of the following week for further discussion, according to ET.

The tech companies intend to establish a panel that will be presided over by a retired chief justice, a judge of the Supreme Court, or a judge of one of the nation’s high courts, as the self-regulatory framework foresees. The group will also consist of additional experts from the sector, independent specialists in technology policy, and one or two members appointed by the government.

However, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has also advocated for the creation of a self-regulatory organization and is seeking to unite the sector to create such a framework. The consultations should be completed within a week.

IAMAI claims that the strategy echoes government sentiment about self-regulation as a policy action. “We believe that it is the ideal scenario for all the stakeholders involved as it achieves the government’s goal with minimal business disruption,” it said.

The development occurs as the government considers creating a grievance appellate committee (GAC). The government proposed the formation of GAC in the draft amendments to the IT Rules, 2021, which were published in June. This proposal has generated concerns about free expression and the government’s ability to manage social media.

Social media users who are dissatisfied with a grievance officer’s judgment made by a social media company may appeal to the GAC as an alternative redress option.

According to a senior government official, the industry has not yet presented the government with a specific plan. Government must establish a committee to address
the complaints of social media users if the industry is unable to self-regulate.

It should be noted that Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the IT Minister, has said the government is open to the idea of social media intermediaries or big tech platforms establishing an efficient self-regulatory appellate mechanism.

Prior to this, US lobby groups, including those for Facebook, Twitter, and the US-India Business Council (USIBC), as well as the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF), also voiced their disapproval of the GAC in the draft amendments to the IT Rules, 2021.

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