Twitter lost its legal protection in India from prosecution over users’ posts. Recently, Twitter failed to comply with new IT rules requiring it to appoint key officers based in the country.
The implication of this development is that if there is any charge against Twitter for alleged unlawful content then it would be treated as a publisher and not as an intermediary.
The micro blogging site will be liable for punishment under any law, including IT Act.
As per information provided by the Ministry of Electronics and IT, Twitter has not yet complied with all the provisions of the rules that came into force on May 25.
The government also informed that Twitter is the only social media platform that has not complied with rules that require major digital platforms to appoint India-based officers including a Chief Compliance Officer.
On Tuesday, Twitter had said it had appointed an interim Chief Compliance Officer and would soon share details with the IT Ministry.
A Twitter spokesperson said 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.
Twitter had initially expressed concern about what it called “the potential threat to freedom of expression” when the new rules came into effect last month.
Twitter to lose its status as intermediary platform in India as it does not comply with new guidelines, it is the only social media platform among mainstream that has not adhered to new laws: Government sources
— ANI (@ANI) June 16, 2021
Earlier this month, the government had given Twitter a stern “last notice” to fall in line, saying its refusal to do so demonstrated its “lack of commitment and efforts” towards providing a safe experience for the people of India on its platform.
Twitter has lost its status as intermediary platform in India due to non-compliance with new IT rules. This means instead of being considered just a platform hosting content from various users, Twitter will be directly editorially responsible for posts published on its platform.
— ANI (@ANI) June 16, 2021
“Despite being operational in India for more than a decade, it is beyond belief that Twitter Inc has doggedly refused to create 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 Ministry of Electronics and IT had said.
Google, WhatsApp and Facebook have shared the details of the officers with the government. The new rules have been contested by several parties, including WhatsApp which has argued that the traceability provision mandated in the guidelines would violate end to end encryption.