What is a grievance officer and why are Facebook and Twitter required to appoint one?

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The Indian government recently put new rules into effect aimed at preventing social media abuse and the misuse of digital platforms. One of the strengths of the new IT rules for intermediaries is a strong complaints mechanism.

With the exception of a nodal manager and a compliance officer, the rules require all major social media intermediaries (over 50 lakh users) to appoint a resident grievance manager. This executive is responsible for recognizing and resolving grievances within a stipulated time frame.

Role of grievance officers with social media intermediaries, in accordance with new IT rules

The name and contact details of the grievance officer should be prominently posted on the social media platform’s website. A mechanism by which a user can file a complaint should also be mentioned.

This executive will be required to acknowledge receipt of all complaints within 24 hours and resolve any issues within 15 days of receipt of the complaint. In addition, the grievance officer will be required to receive and acknowledge receipt of any order, advice or direction issued by the appropriate government, any authority having jurisdiction or a court of competent jurisdiction.

The Grievance Officer must be based in India and be an employee of the company. The agent should be a member of a self-regulatory body formed by intermediaries. This body will oversee and ensure alignment and compliance with the Code of Ethics by the publisher.

The grievance officer will be the point of contact to receive any grievance relating to the code of ethics.

Confirmed and unconfirmed appointments

Facebook has appointed Spoorthi Priya as the grievance manager and listed [email protected] as the email id to contact in the event of a grievance. Instagram lists the same name and contact details as Facebook.

WhatsApp has appointed Paresh B Lal as the Grievance Officer with the email id [email protected] LinkedIn lists Tanya Mampilly as the Grievance Officer for India.

Twitter’s first appointment as Acting Resident Grievance Officer was Dharmendra Chatur, but he resigned his post within weeks. Currently, the website displays Jeremy Kessel, director of global legal policy at Twitter, as the grievance officer for India. But with the rules stipulating that the executive must reside in India, the company said it would announce a new name for the Acting Resident Grievance Officer position soon.


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