After Twitter writes about complying with new IT Rules, we can sense the potential ease of the long standoff between MEITY and Twitter. But is it so?
Twitter has appointed a nodal contractual person (NCP) and Resident Grievance Officer (RGO) on a contractual basis. The microblogging platform wrote that it will finalise the appointment to the role of chief compliance officer soon.
Dissatisfied with the appointments, the Ministry held that contractual appointments made by Twitter are not fully compliant with Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code. The appointed people are not Indian citizens.
“There is either 100 percent compliance or zero compliance with laws and rules. It can not be midway. Make appointments of people who are Indian residents as well as on the payroll of the company,” said a government official.
One Last Notice on June 5
“Twitter Inc. is hereby given one last notice to immediately comply with the Rules, failing which the exemption from liability available under section 79 of the IT Act, 2000 shall stand withdrawn and Twitter shall be liable for consequences as per the IT Act and other penal laws of India,” the notice stated.
Removal of the blue verified badge from vice president Venkaiah Naidu’s personal Twitter account on the same day (June 5) put the microblogging platform under scanner again.
However, the blue badge was restored later. Twitter issued a clarification that the action was taken as per its verification policy which stated that the platform may remove the verified badge if the account is inactive for more than 6 months. The platform had removed the blue verified badge from several other accounts also.
On May 28, Twitter accused the Indian government of being engaged in intimidation tactics and dangerous overreach that is inconsistent with open, democratic principles.
Following the raids in its India offices, the platform alleged that it is forced to withhold portions of legitimate free speech on its platform over fears around the safety of its employees and threats of financial penalties.
Twitter India offices in South Delhi and Gurgaon were raided on May 25 to serve notice in connection to the controversial “Toolkit Case”.
On May 18, BJP Spokesperson Sambit Patra shared screenshots claiming it to be “Congress Toolkit to Discredit PM Narendra Modi and Centre’s Covid Handling“. Several other BJP leaders shared the same screenshots.
Congress alleged the screenshots to be fake and registered an FIR against BJP members.
Twitter tagged Patra’s tweet as ‘manipulated media’. Later, the government asked the microblogging platform to remove the tag as the matter is still under investigation.
Jazzy B Twitter Account Restricted
On June 8, Twitter accounts of California Sikh Youth Alliance, hip-hop artist L-Fresh the Lion, singers and songwriters Jazzy B and Tarandeep Guraya were ‘geo-restricted’ over the legal requests received on the Lumen database. The restricted accounts were frequently tweeting in support of the farmers’ protests.
What is your stance on the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021? Are these new social media rules going to undermine your freedom of speech and right to privacy? Do we really need to be worried about India’s new IT Rules?