In compliance with India’s digital laws, WhatsApp has appointed Paresh B. Lal as its grievance officer in the country. Although the Facebook-owned messaging platform has yet to announce his appointment officially, a new tab has appeared in the app's section for Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which is headed “How To Contact The Grievance Officer” and giving Lal’s name and an address in Hyderabad city, in the state of Telangana.
Details of Lal’s CV aren't as yet available, but his new role includes being responsible for acknowledging user complaints within 24 hours and for resolving serious problems within 15 days of their being flagged up.
The news comes just a day after Delhi High Court served Twitter with a legal notice, directing it to comply with the country’s IT rules.
Twitter has been advised to appoint a grievance officer and to comply with other requirements of India's IT laws that were released to regulate the digital space in February this year.
Twitter, however, claimed in the court that it is adhering to the government rules and has appointed a grievance officer to manage user complaints on its platform. However, the microblogging site did not reveal any details about its “grievance officer”.
The Delhi High Court has given Twitter until 6 June to get a grievance officer on board on record and officially, this being the date of the petition's next hearing.
Last week, India's Government wrote to social networking giants asking them to submit a compliance report around the IT rules as soon as possible.
Along with requiring grievance and engineering liaison officers for each platform, the rules also demand that social networking apps must help security agencies trace the origin of problematic content on their platform – for investigations in very serious cases.
Facebook and Twitter are reluctant to agree to this stipulation, citing users' privacy concerns. WhatsApp even sued the Indian government in Delhi High Court over the traceability rule.
Non-compliance with the rules, however, would cost these platforms their status as an intermediary that provides them with immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them in India.