Amended IT Rules For Social Media: Mixed Bag of Reforms?


Supratim Chakraborty, Partner, Khaitan & Co.

One of the foremost challenges as a result of this new amendment is that intermediaries are under an obligation to resolve a wide scope of content- related grievances within a mere span of 72 hours.

Earlier, they had up to 15 days to resolve such grievances. This may lead to a possibility where intermediaries are unable to vet content-related complaints properly and merely resort to taking down all content for which complaints are received.

An alternative approach could have been to provide reduced timelines for serious content norm violations, such as content deemed harmful for children.

The amendment also makes way for establishment of grievance appellate committees in the context of complaints received by intermediaries.

Further clarity is required on this.

The requirement to publish rules, privacy policy, terms of user agreement in local Indian languages appears to be quite a novel change. However, this could prove to be a challenge for several intermediaries, especially smaller businesses who may not have adequate resources to comply with such obligation. Translated versions may not always be accurate, unless done by professionals.

Further, intermediaries are to ensure accessibility of their services for users. However, the term ‘accessibility’ can be interpreted in multiple ways.

For instance, accessibility may be interpreted in the context of making services available and accessible by specially abled persons. It can also be understood as ensuring uptime and availability of the intermediaries’ platforms and services, without any hindrance.

Hence, the exact nature of the obligation remains unclear.


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