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Key takeaways

  • The government sent one last notice to provide compliance with the laws of the land.
  • The government points out it was the first country apart from the parent company to support the micro blogging site.
  • According to the new laws, social media sites must remove flagged information within 36 hours and nudity, pornography, and other content within 24 hours.
  • If these platforms do not follow the requirements, they will lose their intermediate status, which protects them from liability for any third-party data they host. In other words, if complaints are made, they may face criminal charges.

Introduction

The government has long been discontented from Twitter’s treatment of the laws in place in India. Twitter has been dodging the notices from the government time and again to bring the required changes as per the IT Act, 2021. The government tried to leverage the fact that India was one of the first few countries who supported the microblogging site’s onset. Twitter however did not do certain things like placing a chief grievance officer, nodal communication officer to name a few. On further non-compliance the micro blogging site is said to lose the immunity status.

Issue with Twitter

The government gave Twitter one last chance on June 5 to "quickly" comply with the new IT laws, warning that failing to do so will result in the site losing its exemption from obligation under the IT Act.The government gave Twitter one last chance on Saturday to "quickly" comply with the new IT laws, warning that failing to do so will result in the site losing its exemption from obligation under the IT Act. "It is beyond belief that, despite being operational in India for more than a decade, Twitter Inc has stubbornly refused to create a mechanism that will enable the people of India to resolve their issues on the platform in a timely and transparent manner, through fair processes, by India-based, clearly identified resources," the IT ministry stated.

Though "consequences follow" as a result of Twitter's non-compliance with the rules, the ministry said that "as a gesture of goodwill, Twitter Inc is hereby given one last notice to immediately comply with the rules, failing which the exemption from liability available shall stand withdrawn and Twitter shall be liable for consequences as per the IT Act and other penal laws. "The notice, on the other hand, included no mention of a deadline for complying with the requirements.

In its notice, the IT ministry said that the world's largest democracy was one of the first countries outside of Twitter Inc's parent country to avidly adopt the microblogging site. "Users who are harassed on the platform, or who are subjected to defamation or sexual assault, or who become victims of a broad variety of other abusive content," the IT ministry said, "shall obtain a redressal mechanism that the same people of India have developed via a due process of law."

It stated that Twitter users in India "deserve and demand" a fair method to address their issues and settle their disagreements. In its notification to Twitter, the ministry stated, "Leave alone proactively constructing such a mechanism, Twitter Inc is in the ignominious bracket of refusing to do so even when ordered by law."

In response to Press Trust of India’s e-mail, Twitter declined to comment on the matter. MeitY also contacted Twitter, expressing dissatisfaction with the platform's responses to its letters, which did not address the explanations requested or demonstrate full compliance with the rule. "It is evident from your reply that Twitter has not provided the Chief Compliance Officer's details as required by the Rules," it stated.

The ministry further stated that the resident grievance officer and the nodal contact person chosen by the company are not employees of Twitter Inc in India as required by the regulations, and that the company's office address "is that of a law firm in India, which is not as required by the rules." Twitter has been warned by the government that failure to comply will have "unintended consequences," including the loss of Twitter's exemption from liability as an intermediary under the IT Act.

According to data released by the government lately, Twitter has an estimated 1.75 crore users in India.The squabble over Twitter's treatment of certain posts had recently escalated into a full-fledged verbal brawl between the government and the social media giant. The government had previously criticised Twitter's comments on suspected intimidation and threats to free speech, claiming that the microblogging site was attempting to undermine India's legal system through its actions and resistance. The company's attitude was described by the IT ministry as an attempt to impose terms on the world's largest democracy.

The new rules for social media in the IT Act

The new IT guidelines for social media businesses, which went into effect last month, require huge platforms like Facebook and Twitter to conduct more due diligence and to be more accountable and responsible for the content they host.

According to the new laws, social media sites must remove flagged information within 36 hours and nudity, pornography, and other content within 24 hours. The new guidelines, according to the Centre, are intended to prevent platform abuse and misuse while also providing users with a robust mechanism for grievance resolution.

If these platforms do not follow the requirements, they will lose their intermediate status, which protects them from liability for any third-party data they host. In other words, if complaints are made, they may face criminal charges.

The guidelines also compel major social media intermediaries - who largely provide messaging services - to allow for the identity of the "first originator" of information that threatens India's sovereignty, security, or public order. The new IT rules mandate the appointment of a grievance officer, a nodal officer, and a chief compliance officer by big social media intermediaries (those with more than 50 lakh members). Residents of India are necessary for this group.

Conclusion

The Indian government has long been dissatisfied with Twitter's treatment of the country's laws. Twitter has repeatedly evaded government notices to make the necessary improvements in accordance with the IT Act of 2021. The government attempted to capitalise on India's status as one of the first few countries to endorse the microblogging site's launch. However, Twitter did not implement key measures, such as appointing a chief grievance officer and a nodal communication officer, to mention a few. The microblogging site's immunity status is said to be revoked if it continues to break the rules.


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