Centre directs Meta to remove fake interview of journalist Karan Thapar from Facebook

The Centre’s Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) has recently directed Meta to remove a fake interview of veteran journalist Karan Thappar from Facebook. It also advised the social media platform to diligently deal with public complaints. 

Earlier, Facebook has turned down the request against the removal of the posts in question, mentioning that they did not violate its community guidelines. Reportedly, one of the fake interviews used Karan Thapar’s picture to promote a fraudulent money-making scheme.

The Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) in its order dated December 12, considered the appeal lodged through Dua Associates against Facebook’s refusal to turn down the posts. The GAC is constituted under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

The GAC mentioned that while Meta had earlier said that the posts were not in violation of its community guidelines, it later raised questions about the existence of the URL and the resolution of the screenshots provided by the complainant.

It added that Meta’s Grievance Officer knew about the specific URL links when it initially asserted that the posts did not go against Facebook’s community guidelines. It further claimed that Meta subsequently bringing out the absence of these has no basis. 

Additionally, the Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) also took into account the statement released by Karan Thappar about the malicious and defamatory content being circulated in his name. 

Taking into consideration the Rule 3 (1) (b) (v) of the IT Rules, 2021, that prevents intermediaries like Facebook from hosting any misinformation which is patently false and untrue or misleading in nature, the GAC issued directions stating that the fake interview of Karan Thappar as brought out by the appellant be removed forthwith. It also advised META to deal with complaints/appeals received after applying due diligence.

The GAC further asked Facebook’s Grievance Officer to act promptly on the directives and confirm the action taken. Journalist Karan Thapar was represented by Dua Associates through its Partner Munawwar Naseem and Senior Associate Sanjna Dua.