Comply or lose Intermediary Status: Government tells Twitter Inc.

  • Shruti Kakkar
  • 08:05 PM, 05 Jun 2021

Dismayed by the responses by Twitter to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s letters that neither address the clarifications sought nor indicate full compliance with the Rules, Group CoOrdinator, Cyber Law MeitY, as a gesture of goodwill has given one last notice to Twitter Inc to comply with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code ) Rules, 2021. 

As per the notice, non compliance with the Rules would lead to unintended consequences including Twitter losing its exemption from liability as intermediary available under section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 which has been provided under Rule 7 of the Rules.

“The failure to comply with the Rules will make Twitter liable for consequences as per the IT Act and other penal laws of India”, the Ministry said.

The notice states that Twitter Inc till date has not informed about the details of the Chief Compliance Officer and that Nodal Contact Person nominated Twitter is not an employee of Twitter Inc in India as per the rules prescribed.

“Refusal to comply demonstrates Twitter’s lack of commitment and efforts towards providing a safe experience for the people of India on its own platform. The world’s largest democracy has been among the first countries in the world outside the parent country of Twitter Inc to enthusiastically adopt the platform”, the notice said. 

The Ministry in its notice has also said that being operational in India for more than a decade, it is beyond belief that Twitter Inc has doggedly refused to create mechanisms that would enable the people of India to resolve their issues on the platform in a timely and transparent manner and through fair process, by India based, clearly identified resources.

“People of India who use Twitter platform, deserve and demand a fair mechanism to address their grievances and resolve their disputes. Users who are abused on the platform or are harassed or are subject to defamation or sexual abuse or become victims or a whole range of other abusive content must get a rederssal mechanism that the same people of India have created through a due process of law.”, the Ministry further said. 

It is pertinent to note that the Delhi High Court has issued notice in a plea filed by Amit Acharya seeking to direct Twitter to comply to the Rules within a legally tenable framework Senior Advocate Sajan Povayya had submitted that Twitter had appointed Grievance Redressal Officer on May 28, 2021.