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This article was published on August 13, 2021

Why social networks need a grievance officer in India

New IT rules are in effect

Why social networks need a grievance officer in India
Ivan Mehta
Story by

Ivan Mehta

Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh." Ivan covers Big Tech, India, policy, AI, security, platforms, and apps for TNW. That's one heck of a mixed bag. He likes to say "Bleh."

Over the last few months, there’s been a lot of news around tech companies appointing grievance officers in India. We’ll take a look at why these companies need to appoint one, and what they do.

Why do companies need to appoint a grievance officer? 

In February, the Indian government passed a set of new social media policing rules. As per these new guidelines, significant social media intermediaries — platforms with more than 5 million users — need to appoint a nodal officer, a chief compliance officer, and a resident grievance officer. 

These rules came into effect on May 21, 2021, so all these now need to have officers residing in India for these positions.

What does a grievance officer do?

As per the new IT rules, the grievance officer needs to address user complaints. As a user, you can send your grievances to the dedicated officer via email. 

The officer has to acknowledge these complaints within 24 hours and provide a response within 15 days from the date of receiving it.

In addition to handling user complaints, the grievance officer also has to address orders or notices issued by the government, courts, and other authorities. This may involve providing user data and restricting or removing posts or users.

Till now, significant social media companies such as TwitterFacebook, WhatsApp, Google, and Clubhouse have appointed all required officers to meet the IT guidelines.

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