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IT Ministry plans to reverse content moderation decisions by Big Tech

The Indian government has republished a draft that reveals the plan to form an appeals panel that can reverse content moderation decisions by Big Tech companies like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The IT Ministry republished the draft changes on its website late Monday evening, after quietly withdrawing it last week.

In republished draft changes to IT Rules 2021, the IT Ministry (MeitY) stated that the new amendment “will not impact early stage or growth stage Indian companies or startups.”

This brings relief to home-grown platforms like Dailyhunt, ShareChat and Koo.

The IT Ministry is seeking public comments on the draft proposal in a 30-day time-frame.

The proposed “new accountability standards” are aimed at ensuring that the “constitutional rights of Indian citizens are not contravened by any Big-tech Platform.”

“A number of intermediaries have acted in violation of constitutional rights of Indian citizens,” said the IT Ministry draft IT rules.

Currently, content moderation decisions by Facebook, YouTube and Twitter can only be appealed in a court.

The IT rules also require big social media platforms to help the government trace the originator of messages in special cases.

There will be a deadline of 30 days for appeals against decisions by company grievance officers and the appeals panel will get another 30 days to take up the matter and act upon it, according to the draft document.

“The intermediary shall respect the rights accorded to citizens under the constitution,” read the draft.

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 mandate that the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, must establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving resolving complaints from the users or victims.

Earlier this year, Union Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the government is willing to introduce stricter social media norms and all micro-blogging sites operating in the country must be held accountable. SocialNews.XYZ

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