India’s new IT rules took effect on the 26th of May, 2020. As part of the rules, tech companies were required to appoint a Grievance Officer and publicize his/her information on the company’s website and/or its mobile app. Before conceding to the rules, WhatsApp filed a lawsuit complaining about the Government’s new IT rules.
Paresh B. Lal has been named as WhatsApp’s Grievance Officer for India on its website. According to the company’s website, Paresh B. Lal – WhatsApp’s newly appointed Grievance Officer, can be contacted through a post box in Banjara Hills in Hyderabad, Telangana.
The government IT rules mandated that social media companies publish the name of their grievance officer and their address or any other information that will help in contacting them on their website and/or app. The IT rules also required that these companies make public the mechanism by which a user can make a complaint.
Other tech companies have also begun to update their websites with information about their Grievance Officers, as mandated by the IT rules. Google, for instance, has included information about it’s a contact person for complaints on its website. Its ‘Contact Us’ page displays Joe Grier as a contact person and has an address from Mountain View, U.S. This page also includes a grievance redressal mechanism for YouTube.
The major duty of a Grievance Officer is acknowledging a complaint received within 24 hours and ensuring that the complaint is dealt appropriately with within a period of 15 days from the date the complaint was received. The Grievance officer is also charged with the onus of receiving and acknowledging any order, directive, or notice issued by the government.
Social media companies will have to delete content that has been flagged within 36 hours while content that contains nudity, pornography, etc., have to be deleted within a period of 24 hours.
Any company that refuses to adhere to these rules will lose its intermediary status that provides them with immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them.
Although many major companies have adhered to the new IT rules, Twitter is still yet to and is asking for a 3-month extension to comply with the rules.