After much debate over the new IT rules, WhatsApp has finally bowed down and named Paresh B Lal as its grievance officer for India on its website.
The move coincides with the implementation of new IT rules that require significant social media intermediaries – those with more than 50 lakh users – to appoint a grievance officer, nodal officer, and chief compliance officer. This personnel must be a resident of India.
According to WhatsApp’s website, users can contact Paresh B Lal, the ‘Grievance Officer,’ via a post box in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana.
Previously, sources said WhatsApp was updating the details of the newly appointed grievance officers to replace the existing information on its platform.
If a user wishes to contact the grievance officer, he or she must send an email or make a post to Paresh B Lal.
Users who want to complain or share their concerns about the messaging app can send an email to grievance officer [email protected] The person’s electronic signature should be included in the email.
Aside from that, if a user wants to contact WhatsApp about a specific account, they must include their phone number in full international format, including the country code, in the email, according to the Facebook-owned unit’s website.
Finally, if a user wishes to write to the grievance officer, they can do so at Post Box No. 56, Road No. 1, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad – 500 034, Telangana.
According to the rules, all intermediaries must prominently display the name of the grievance officer and his/her contact information on their website, app, or both, as well as the mechanism through which a user or victim may file a complaint.
The grievance officer must acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and dispose of it within 15 days of its receipt, as well as receive and acknowledge any order, notice, or direction issued by the authorities.
According to the new rules, social media companies must remove flagged content within 36 hours and nudity, pornography, and other content within 24 hours.
According to the Centre, the new rules are intended to prevent platform abuse and misuse while also providing users with a robust forum for grievance redressal.
Noncompliance with the rules would result in these platforms losing their intermediary status, which protects them from liability for any third-party data hosted on their platforms. In other words, if there are complaints, they may face criminal charges.
Following the implementation of the new standards on May 26, the IT ministry increased pressure on major social media companies, requiring them to immediately report compliance and provide details on the three key officials appointed.
The new IT rules also require significant social media intermediaries – who primarily provide messaging services – to enable identification of the “first originator” of information that jeopardises India’s sovereignty, state security, or public order.
Large platforms must also publish monthly compliance reports detailing the details of complaints received and actions taken, as well as the number of specific communication links or parts of information that the intermediary has removed or disabled access to in response to any proactive monitoring conducted using automated tools or for other reasons.