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GACs to Address Complaints Against Social Media Platforms

  • 31 Jan 2023
  • 4 min read

For Prelims: Social Media, Cyber Surakshit Bharat Initiative, Cyber Swachhta Kendra, Online cybercrime reporting portal, Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C).

For Mains: Initiatives Related to Social Media.

Why in News?

Recently, the Union government notified the formation of three Grievance Appellate Committees (GACs) that will address user complaints against social media and other internet-based platforms.

  • These panels will also be empowered to oversee and revoke content moderation-related decisions taken by these platforms.

What are GACs?

  • Composition:
  • Solving of Conflicts:
    • The GACs will deal with two categories of disputes:
      • Violation of law and rights of users including the right to free speech and privacy
      • Contractual dispute between a platform’s community guidelines and a user
  • Functions:
    • The GACs will act also act as a layer of a tech-sector regulator that the MeitY is expected to prescribe under the upcoming Digital India Bill, which is the successor to the Information Technology Act, 2000.
    • The GACs will adopt an online dispute resolution mechanism where the entire appeal process, from its filing to the final decision, will be done online.
    • Any person aggrieved by a decision of the grievance officer of a social media intermediary will be allowed to file an appeal to the GAC within a period of thirty days.
      • The GAC will have to deal with the appeal and resolve it within a month of receipt of the appeal.
  • Significance & Need:
    • GAC is a critical piece of overall policy and legal framework to ensure that the internet in India is open, safe & trusted and accountable.
    • The need for GAC was created due to large numbers of grievances being left unaddressed or unsatisfactorily addressed by Internet Intermediaries.
    • It is expected to create a culture of responsiveness amongst all internet platforms and Intermediaries towards their consumers.
  • Criticism:
    • The proposal has previously drawn criticism over fears that government-appointed panels will be able to dictate content-moderation decisions taken by social media firms.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)


Q. In India, it is legally mandatory for which of the following to report on cyber security incidents? (2017)

  1. Service providers
  2. Data centres
  3. Body corporate

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (d)


Q. What are social networking sites and what security implications do these sites present? (2013)

Source: IE

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