A day after the Indian government enforced the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules to bring transparency into the working of social media companies, social media giant Twitter on Thursday released a statement saying it needs at least three months to comply with the Indian laws.
Amidst the ongoing controversy over social media platforms’ reluctance to follow Indian laws, Twitter Inc said they would comply with applicable laws in India and continue constructive dialogue with the government. However, the micro-blogging platform asked the government to give it three more months to comply with the new IT rules.
The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, which came into effect from May 25, mandates the social media intermediaries with more than 5 million users and providing messaging services to identify the first originator of problematic content that may harm the country’s interests. The companies should also appoint an Indian grievance officer to deal with the complaints.
It is notable here that the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 were issued in February this year, and social media companies have already been given 3 months time to comply with the new regulations.
The non-compliance with rules will result in these platforms losing the intermediary status that provides them immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by them. In other words, they could be liable for criminal action in case of complaints.
Following the enforcement of the new IT rules, Twitter said it was very concerned regarding the rules that make the compliance officer criminally liable for content posted on the platform.
In its statement, Twitter said, “Twitter is deeply committed to the people of India. Our service has proven vital for public conversation and a source of support for people during the pandemic. To keep our service available, we will strive to comply with applicable law in India.
Continuing, Twitter claimed that they 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 rule of law. It is a big irony especially when the platform has repeatedly acting as a publisher and not an intermediary by displaying its blatant political bias.
Twitter peddles ‘Freedom of Expression’ bogey over recent notice issued by the Indian govt
On the recent events that unfolded over Twitter’s arbitrary move to moderate content in the country by flagging tweets put out by the BJP leaders and subsequent Delhi Police’s investigation into the issue, Twitter said that they are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the “potential threat to freedom of expression for the people they serve.”
“We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service, as well as with core elements of the new IT Rules. We plan to advocate for changes to elements of these regulations that inhibit free, open public conversation,” claimed Twitter days after the Special Cell of the Delhi Police had visited offices of Twitter India in Delhi and Gurgaon in connection with its probe into the Congress toolkit conspiracy.
Concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India&potential threat to freedom of expression for people we serve.We’ve concerns with regards to intimidation police’s tactics in response to enforcement of global Terms of Service&core elements of new IT Rules: Twitter spox pic.twitter.com/gvdxkWuRi2— ANI (@ANI) May 27, 2021
A few days back, Delhi Police had visited Twitter’s offices to serve notice to them, demanding an explanation for adding the ‘manipulated media’ tag to tweets by BJP politicians on the Congress toolkit case. The social media platform has been asked to explain the reason behind their decision to add the tag. However, showing disrespect to Indian laws, Twitter had refused to appear before the investigating team in the Congress toolkit case.
Responding to the allegation, Twitter has now come up with a statement saying, “We will continue our constructive dialogue with the Indian Government and believe it is critical to adopt a collaborative approach. It is the collective responsibility of elected officials, industry, and civil society to safeguard the interests of the public.”