Twitter Inc in India received a final notice from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEiTY) last week for failing to comply with the new IT rules.
In its notice, MEITY had said that Twitter’s unwillingness to comply with the rules indicated the microblogging site’s “lack of commitment and efforts towards providing a safe experience for the people of India on its platform”.
According to the ministry, “Despite being operational in India for more than a decade, it is beyond belief that Twitter Inc has doggedly 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 and through fair processes, by India based, clearly identified resources”.
The social media platform has now requested more time to comply with the new regulations. The company says it has shared an overview of the process with the Indian government and is continuing to communicate with them in a constructive manner. Neither party has provided a timeframe for implementing the new rules.
According to the spokesperson, “We have assured the Government of India that Twitter is making every effort to comply with the new guidelines, and an overview on our progress has been duly shared. We will continue our constructive dialogue with the Indian Government”.
Due to the challenges posed by India’s uncertain pandemic situation, other reports this week claimed that Twitter has requested more time to comply with India’s controversial IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, also known as the new IT rule.
The rules took effect on May 26, 2021, and they affect how users interact with social media platforms, as well as OTT video streaming companies and digital publishers.
Every social media platform with an active member base of 50 lakhs or more is required by the new IT rules to appoint a grievance officer, a nodal officer, and a chief compliance officer, all of whom must be Indian citizens. Twitter is currently classified as an intermediary, which means it is immune from any liability arising from third-party data hosted on the platform.
The ministry’s notice to the Twitter public said, “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one last notice to immediately comply with the rules, failing which the exemption from liability available… shall stand withdrawn and Twitter shall be liable for consequences as per the IT Act and other penal laws of India”.
The notice, however, did not specify a deadline for the microblogging site to comply with the rules.
Noncompliance with the rules would result in these platforms losing their intermediary status, which protects them from liability for any third-party data hosted on their platforms. In other words, if there are complaints, they may face criminal charges.
As per the central government, the current regulations are intended to prevent platform harrassment and misuse while also providing users with a robust forum for grievance redressal.