Following the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeiTY) notice earlier this month, Twitter has complied with the new IT rules by appointing an interim chief compliance officer. While the US social networking giant claims to have been keeping MeiTY apprised of the developments, it hasn't shared details with the government yet.
"We are keeping the MeitY apprised of the progress at every step of the process. An interim Chief Compliance Officer has been retained and details will be shared with the ministry directly soon. Twitter continues to make every effort to comply with the new guideline," says a Twitter spokesperson.
Meanwhile, Twitter has lost its legal indemnity in India because it failed to comply with the new IT rules. "There are numerous queries arising as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbour provision. However, the simple fact of the matter is that Twitter has failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from the 26th of May," tweeted Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.
Introduced by the government in February, the new rules required social media platforms to appoint key officers in the country and came into effect on May 26, 2021. But just in time of the deadline, Twitter had expressed concerns over the potential threat to freedom of expression and raised apprehension about the requirement of making an individual (the compliance officer) criminally liable for content on the platform. At the same time, Twitter requested the MeitY to consider a minimum 3-month extension to implement the new social media rules. However, controverting the claims made by Twitter, MeitY raised concerns about Twitter not setting up such a mechanism in India on its own.
And later, the government had sent one last notice (as a goodwill gesture) to Twitter to immediately comply with the new IT Rules, and warned that failure to do so will lead to the platform losing exemption from liability under the IT Act.
The loss of indemnity was highlighted on June 15, as a case was filed against Twitter by the UP Police over a viral video of an assault. While Twitter has not yet responded to Business Today's query on the FIR, union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tweeted, "What happened in UP was illustrative of Twitter's arbitrariness in fighting fake news. While Twitter has been over enthusiastic about its fact checking mechanism, it's failure to act in multiple cases like UP is perplexing & indicates its inconsistency in fighting misinformation."
He also highlighted that Indian companies, be it pharma, IT or others that go to do business in the USA or other foreign countries, voluntarily follow the local laws. Then why are platforms like Twitter showing reluctance in following Indian laws designed to give voice to the victims of abuse and misuse?
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