The Government of India has officially designated the Fact Check Unit (FCU) under the Press Information Bureau (PIB) as the central government’s fact-checking unit.

More on the news:

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) notified the PIB’s FCU under the provisions of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. 
  • The government till now had refrained from formally notifying the fact check unit due to ongoing litigations. However, after the notification of FCU by the Government, the Supreme Court has put a stay on it until the final verdict of the Bombay High Court on the matter. 

The IT Rules of 2021 

It is formally known as the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, and introduced by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in India. 

These rules aim to regulate online content and platforms, particularly focusing on social media intermediaries (SMIs).

  • SMI platforms must appoint a CCO to ensure compliance with the IT Rules.
  • These platforms have additional obligations regarding content related to:
  • Rape and sexually explicit material.
  • Child sexual abuse material (CSAM).
  • Intermediaries must provide clear and accessible user agreements and privacy policies.
  • Platforms must appoint a grievance officer to address user complaints regarding content moderation decisions.

Fact Check Unit:

  • The Fact Check Unit under PIB was established in November 2019 with the stated objective of acting as a deterrent to creators and disseminators of fake news and misinformation.  
  • The FCU is mandated to counter misinformation on Government policies, initiatives and schemes either suo motu or under a reference via complaints. 
  • The FCU actively monitors, detects, and counters disinformation campaigns, ensuring that false information about the Government is promptly exposed and corrected.
  • Social media platforms risk losing legal liability protections for user-generated content if they choose to retain misinformation flagged by the fact check unit under the IT Rules of 2021.

Operational Structure: 

  • The Fact Check Unit is managed by three Joint Director rank officers of the Indian Information Service and reports to the Principal Director General of the PIB, who serves as the Principal Spokesperson of the Government of India.

The Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC)

It is established under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 [“IT Rules”], made under the Information Technology Act, 2000. 

The GAC deals with the appeals of users (Digital Nagriks) aggrieved by decisions of Grievance Officers of social media intermediaries and other intermediaries on complaints of users or victims against violation of the rules and any other matters pertaining to the computer resources made available by the intermediary.


  • The obligation for Social Media Intermediaries (SMIs) to respect constitutional rights, including Articles 14, 19, and 21, lacks clarity in practical implementation, leading to concerns about inconsistent enforcement.
  • Stringent enforcement could stifle free speech online, promoting self-censorship and limiting diversity of opinions.
  • Violate the principle of natural justice.
  • Lack of necessary safeguard

Way forward

  • Ensure transparent and accountable fact-checking processes.
  • Engage stakeholders for feedback and collaboration.
  • Collaborative efforts (platforms, fact-checkers, gov’t) and media literacy initiatives are crucial.
  • Ensuring efficiency, neutrality, and accessibility for the Grievance Appellate Committee (GAC) is key.
  • Clear Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) guidelines and balancing content regulation with free speech are vital.
  • Clear guidelines and oversight are essential for consistent and fair application, ensuring protection of citizens’ rights while fostering an inclusive online environment.

Also Read:

Government Plans to Implement New Toll Collection System