India’s new IT rules require that social media platforms “prominently publish” the name and contact details of an India-based grievance officer. However, the correspondence address given by social media juggernaut Facebook for its grievance officer is actually that of a law firm.
On its website, Facebook mentions one Spoorthi Priya as its India grievance officer along with the address: 216 Okhla Industrial Estate, Phase III, New Delhi – 110020.
However, this address is of renowned law firm Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas’s Delhi office.
Facebook declined to comment on why it mentions a law firm’s address for its grievance officer. The company also wouldn’t say if its grievance officer, Spoorthi Priya, is a Facebook employee, which is something that the rules require.
To be sure, the IT Rules don’t explicitly mandate social media companies to mention their own office addresses on their website.
However, the government in a “last notice” to Twitter earlier this month had reprimanded the company for not complying with the social media rules, saying that the address mentioned by Twitter was that of a law firm and its grievance and nodal officer was not a Twitter employee, among other things.
In Twitter’s case, it mentions Dharmendra Chatur as its interim grievance officer on its website who incidentally is also a partner designate at law firm Poovayya & Co. The address given by Twitter is also Poovayya & Co.’s Bengaluru address.
Queries sent to the IT Ministry on whether it has any concerns—like it had with Twitter—with Facebook also displaying a law firm’s address for its grievance officer remained unanswered at the time of publication.
However, a senior ministry source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Entrackr that the information technology ministry has not sent any communication to Facebook objecting to it sharing a law firm’s address.
On May 26, the day on which the social media rules came into effect, the IT Ministry had sent a letter to all social media companies asking them details about their compliance status with the rules.
Another source directly aware of the situation told Entrackr that Facebook, in its response to that letter, told the ministry that its grievance officer and her corresponding contact details were an interim arrangement and not permanent. It also informed the ministry that its nodal and compliance officers were interim appointments, this source said, requesting anonymity as the responses haven’t been made public.
It is worth noting that, unlike Twitter, Facebook does not on its website clarify that its grievance officer is an interim appointment.