India weighs panel to rule on appeals against social media takedowns

3D printed Facebook and Twitter logos are seen in this illustration made in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic

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NEW DELHI, June 2 (Reuters) – India is considering setting up an appeal board with the power to overrule content moderation decisions by social media companies, the information technology ministry said. , in what would be the first such initiative. worldwide.

The revelation came in a document seeking comments on proposed IT rule changes that came into force last year and aim to regulate social media content, making companies such as Facebook (FB.O), YouTube (GOOGL.O) and Twitter (TWTR .N) more responsible.

The document, released Thursday, proposed one or more such appeal committees. It set a 30-day deadline for appeals against the decisions of the company’s complaints officers, while the commissions themselves have an additional 30 days to take up the case.

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Social media companies are already required to have an internal grievance officer and designate executives to coordinate with law enforcement officials.

“The intermediary must respect the rights granted to citizens under the constitution,” the draft rules say in a newly added section, referring to social media companies.

India ranks among the world’s largest sources of government content takedown requests to Twitter Inc and Meta Platforms Inc (FB.O).

Tension has flared between India’s nationalist government and Twitter, which last year refused to fully comply with orders to remove accounts and posts accused of spreading misinformation about farmers’ protests against the government.

Last year, government officials said social media platforms may no longer be eligible to seek liability waivers as intermediaries or hosts of user content if they fail to comply with national information and technology.

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Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in New Delhi; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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