New Delhi: The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has sent a final notice to Twitter asking it to abide by the norms under the new IT rules or face consequences over non-compliance.
“MeitY is dismayed to note that your responses to the ministry’s letters neither address the clarification sought by this ministry nor indicate full compliance with the rules,” it wrote.
In a strong-worded letter, the IT Ministry wrote that “till date, Twitter has not informed about the details of the chief compliance officer as required under the rules”.
“Further, Resident grievance officer and nodal contact person nominated by you is not an employee of Twitter Inc. in India as prescribed by the rule. The office address of Twitter Inc as mentioned by you is that of a law firm in India which is also not as per the rules,” it added.
The Ministry stressed that after more than a week, Twitter continues to refuse to comply with the provisions of these rules. “Needless to state such non-compliance will lead to unintended consequences including Twitter losing exemption from liability as intermediary available under section 79 of the Information Technology (IT) act 2000,” the ministry warned.
According to the IT ministry, the refusal to comply demonstrates Twitter’s lack of commitment and efforts towards providing a safe environment experience for Indian users on its platform.
“Despite being operational in India for more than a decade it is beyond belief that Twitter Inc has doggedly refused to create mechanisms that will enable the people of India to resolve their issues on the platform in a timely and transparent manner and through a fair process by India based clearly identified resources. Leave alone proactively creating such a mechanism, Twitter Inc. is in the inglorious bracket of refusing to do so even when mandated by law,” it wrote criticising the micro-blogging platform.
The IT Ministry emphasised that Indian users deserve and demand a fair mechanism to address their grievances and resolve disputes. “Users who are abused on the platform or harassed or are subject to defamation of sexual abuse or become victims or a whole range of other abusive content must get a redressal mechanism that the same people of India have created through a due process of law,” it wrote.
As a gesture of goodwill, Twitter has been given one final notice to immediately comply or else face the withdrawal of exemption from liability available under section 79 of the IT act 2000.
New IT Rules & What Twitter Stands To Lose
The new IT rules for social media companies, which came into effect on May 26, were announced on February 25. They require social media giants to follow additional due diligence, including the appointment of a chief compliance officer, nodal contact person, and resident grievance officer.
Platforms with over 50 lakh registered users, categorised as ‘Significant social media intermediaries’, were given three months to comply with the additional requirements as non-compliance will result in these platforms losing the intermediary status that enables them to have immunity from liabilities for any third-party information and data hosted by them.
Simply put, without compliance, social media companies can be liable to face action with respect to content posted on their respective platforms.