Twitter Inc issued a statement on Monday saying that it would “strive to comply” with Indian laws in response to a notice issued by the Delhi High Court for the microblogging site’s non-compliance with the new IT Rules.
“Twitter strives to comply with applicable laws in India. We continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency, a commitment to empowering every voice on the service, and protecting freedom of expression and privacy under the Indian law,” Twitter’s spokesperson told ANI.
A plea was filed in the Delhi High Court against Twitter India on May 28 for alleged non-compliance with the new IT Rules, seeking direction from the Centre to pass necessary instruction to Twitter Inc and its India office to appoint a resident grievance officer under Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules 2021, without further delay.
The plea mentioned that Twitter had to comply with the statutory duties as per the provisions as it was a “Significant Social Media Intermediary” (SSMI) according to the IT Rules, 2021, Live Law reported.
As per Rule 4(c) under the new IT Rules, every SSMI has to appoint a resident grievance officer who will head the “redressal and disposal” of complaints made by a user or “victim” on the social networking giant but Twitter had failed to appoint any.
Twitter Inc told the Delhi High Court that in compliance with the new IT Rules, it had appointed a resident grievance officer on May 28.
The matter will be heard next on July 6.
New IT Rules
On February 25, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (Meity) introduced the Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules to regulate content in OTT platforms, social media intermediaries and digital news media which were slated to come into effect on May 25.
According to the new IT Rules, social media intermediaries including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube have to establish a ‘grievance redressal mechanism’ for receiving and resolving complaints from users or victims, remove child pornography, videos relating to rape or any kind of nudity and remove or disable access to such content within 24 hours of receiving complaints. It will have to identify the originator of disputed content without providing any information to the originator.
The new IT Rules mandate social media intermediaries to appoint officers who are Indian citizens to key compliance roles that have oversight over the additional due diligence required for removal of content. Abiding by the new IT Rules will also hold “significant” social media intermediaries accountable to Indian laws and in case they fail to adhere to the code, it will lead to their loss of protection from lawsuits and criminal prosecution.
Amid the ongoing tiff between the Centre and Twitter, last week the Central government asked Twitter India “to stop beating around the bush” and comply with Indian laws while condemning the microblogging site’s statement to be “baseless, false and an attempt to defame India to hide their own follies.”
With Twitter expressing concern over the “intimidation tactics” by the Delhi Police after police raided its offices recently as a “threat to freedom of expression” and its employees, the Centre and the Delhi Police had issued statements condemning the claims and asking the microblogging site to comply with the new IT Rules.