Twitter loses legal shield in India for not complying with the new IT rules, which came into effect last month. As per a report coming from the Times of India, the microblogging site has “lost the coveted ‘safe harbour’ immunity in India over its failure to appoint statutory officers on the company’s role in India with the new IT rules.”
The report adds that due to this “top executives, including the country managing director, could face police questioning and criminal liability under IPC over ‘unlawful’ and ‘inflammatory’ content posted on the platform by any user.”
Twitter vs Indian government: The on-going battle
The Indian government has been warning Twitter to comply with new IT rules since nearly a month, but the social media giant has been delaying the process all this while. Other tech companies such as Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, among others have all complied with India’s new IT rules and guidelines. By not complying with the IT rules on time, Twitter has lost the protective shield granted under Section 79 of the IT Act.
A government source told the publication, “the company had been given extra time to comply with the guidelines but it has failed to fall in line with the new IT Rules despite our repeated indulgence, including an extension. With this, Twitter has lost its safe harbour protection and now stands exposed to action under the IPC for any third-party unlawful content.”
Twitter has now informed to have appointed an “interim” chief compliance officer. The microblogging platform informs that it hasn’t shared these details with the IT ministry and this will do that “soon”.
A Twitter spokesperson commented, “we are keeping the IT Ministry apprised of the progress at every step of the process. An interim chief compliance officer has been retained and details will be shared with the Ministry directly soon. Twitter continues to make every effort to comply with the new Guidelines.” The Ministry said that it hasn’t received any details on the same from Twitter. “We have not got any details from Twitter,” a source said.
To recall, the Indian government issued a “one last notice” on June 5 to Twitter asking the social media platform to comply with the new IT rules and guidelines. Twitter had assured the India government that it would comply with the IT rules and guidelines but requires some more days.