WhatsApp has appointed Paresh B Lal as its grievance officer for India, according to updated information on the messaging platforms’ website.
The move comes amid a legal battle between WhatsApp and the government over new digital rules. The instant messaging app has alleged that one of the new rules that require the identification of the originator of a message violates the citizens’ right to privacy.
The government has asserted that it has no intention to intrude into people’s privacy and that the details of the originator need to be disclosed only in case seriously offensive content has been circulated and that too in a scenario where other remedies have proven to be ineffective.
According to the new IT rules, major social media firms also need to set up a grievance redressal mechanism. The platforms are required to appoint a chief compliance officer, a nodal contact person, and a resident grievance officer.
How to contact WhatsApp’s grievance officer?
WhatsApp users can contact resident grievance officer Paresh B Lal via email or through a post.
The users who wish to complain or share any concerns regarding the instant messaging app can write to firstname.lastname@example.org. The email must be signed with an electronic signature.
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If people want to contact WhatsApp about a specific account, they should include their phone number in the full international format, including the country code, in the email, the Facebook-owned unit said on its website.
Those who want to contact the grievance officer via a post can send their concerns to Post Box No. 56, Road No. 1, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad - 500 034, Telangana.
When to contact the grievance officer?
WhatsApp said that users can contact grievance officer Paresh B Lal if they have complaints or concerns regarding the terms of service of the messaging app, payments via app or if they have questions about their account.
According to the new rules notified by the IT Ministry that came into effect last week, a grievance officer must deal with complaints. The officer must acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and resolve it within 15 days from its receipt.
What happens after reporting to the grievance officer?
Within 24 hours of receiving a complaint, WhatsApp and other social media intermediaries must remove or disable access to contents that expose the private areas of individuals, show such individuals in full or partial nudity or in a sexual act or is in the nature of impersonation including morphed images, etc, the IT Ministry has stated in its new guidelines. They have 36 hours to take down other flagged content.
The large social media platforms also have to publish periodic compliance reports every month mentioning the details of complaints received and actions taken.
The report must include the number of specific communication links or parts of information that the intermediary has removed or disabled access to in pursuance of any proactive monitoring conducted by using automated tools or other reasons.
Who can file a complaint?
A complaint reporting offensive material can be filed either by the victims or by any other person on his or her behalf, the rules state.
What are WhatsApp’s concerns?
WhatsApp says that tracing chats is equivalent to keeping fingerprints of every single message. That, it says, would break its end-to-end encryption policy, and also undermine people's right to privacy.
(Edited by : Ajay Vaishnav)
First Published: IST