Micro-blogging platform Twitter on Tuesday said that the open internet is more at risk now than ever before. Twitter also noted that the harassment of employees of service providers is a worrying norm, accelerated by proposals to require local staff to be liable for decisions rather than the corporate entity. In its position paper on 'Protecting the Open Internet', Twitter said governments that seek to defend and expand online freedom cannot stand by while other countries seek to silence critics, censor journalists, and block access to information.
Twitter noted that the Open Internet is global, should be available to all, and should be built on open standards and the protection of human rights. Twitter warned that the risk of the rhetoric of policy and language of law being co-opted and weaponised by those seeking to usher in an age of techno-nationalism is real.
"As has been noted by a range of voices, the combination of significant administrative penalties for individual pieces of content and expected removal in short-time periods - whether one hour or 24 hours - creates a significant corporate incentive to over-remove content, particularly in edge cases, and one that more acutely impacts small companies and new services who have more limited resources to litigate or pay fines," Twitter emphasised.
According to the new Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter must remove content not later than 36 hours after a government or legal order. The Delhi High Court last week disposed of the plea against Twitter India for not complying with the IT Rules 2021, saying it was satisfied with the compliance shown by the platform. Twitter said it had appointed a permanent Resident Grievance Officer (RGO), Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), and Nodal Contact officer (NCO) in compliance with the new IT Rules, 2021 in India.
"The harassment of employees of service providers is a worrying norm, accelerated by proposals to require local staff to be liable for decisions rather than the corporate entity," Twitter said. "Similarly, the targeting of independent journalists and activists highlights the willingness of some states and actors to use digital policy and manipulation to control political debate, it said. "It is essential that there is a coordinated, multi-stakeholder strategy to respond to these threats and defend the free, secure, and global Open Internet," it added.
(with inputs from agencies)
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