- Company had been given ‘final warning’ earlier this month to comply with rules that came into effect on May 25; it may now face punitive action for third party content posted on the platform
New Delhi: The protection that micro-blogging platform Twitter enjoyed in India as an intermediary is now gone, with the social media platform failing to comply with the new IT rules that were implemented last month. As per the new rules, the company was supposed to appoint a resident nodal officer and a chief compliance officer in India, but had failed to do so.
Till now, the tech giant enjoyed protection under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, according to which it was not responsible for any third party information, data, or communication link” made available on the site.
Government sources were quoted as having said that Twitter had lost legal protection due to its non-compliance with the new rules that came into effect from May 25 and would now be liable for penal action in India for content posted on the platform by the users.
The Centre had instructed all social media platforms to appoint a resident grievance officer to deal with various complaints regarding their sites.
However, Twitter said on Tuesday that it had appointed an interim chief compliance officer, the details of which would be shared with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology soon.
The company “continues to make every effort” to comply with the new guidelines and is keeping the IT Ministry apprised of progress at every step of the process”, said a Twitter spokesperson.
Earlier in June, the Centre had issued a “final warning” to the social media platform, asking it to comply with the new rules or be ready to face the consequences. Under the new rules, the social media companies were required to identify the origin of a flagged message and also conduct additional due diligence. The micro-blogging site had criticized the new rules, saying that they “inhibit free, open public conversation.” In response, the Centre had accused it of trying to defame India and dictate its own terms.
There are an estimated 1.75 crore Twitter users in India, according to data cited by the government recently.
First case against Twitter for third party content registered in UP
A case had been filed by Uttar Pradesh government against Twitter in connection with the alleged attack on a Muslim man thrashed in Ghaziabad on June 5. The video of the incident had been doing rounds on the social media platform. The FIR was filed on the grounds that the video had been presented as if the reason for the attack was that he was from the minority community.
The man seen in the video, identified as Sufi Abdul Samad, had alleged that the group had cut off his beard and forced him to chant ‘Vande Mataram’ and ‘Jai Shri Ram’.
The UP police refuted the allegations and claimed the incident was not communal. They added that the assaulters, who included Hindus and Muslims, were upset because of amulets that he had sold to them.
The FIR registered on Tuesday accused Twitter and several journalists of inciting communal sentiments with posts sharing the allegations made by Samad.
According to the police, they had shared details of the case in a press release on the night of June 14, and had refuted the claims of the incident having communal angle. Yet, Twitter did not act to remove the posts.
Government sources said that since Twitter no longer enjoys any protection under the IT Act and did not flag the video as manipulated, it is now liable for legal action.
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