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June 5, 2021

Govt of India give Final Notice to Twitter to comply with IT rules

by CA Shivam Jaiswal in Compliance Law, Corporate Law

Govt of India give Final Notice to Twitter to comply with IT rules

Government of India
Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)
Electronics Niketan, 6 CGO Complex., Lodhi Road,
New Delhi(India)-110003

No. 16(4)2020-CLeS                                                                                          Date: 5th June, 2021

Twitter Inc USA

Sub: Compliance of the information Technology (Intermediary guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 – reg.

Dear Mr. Jim Baker,

This is with reference to this Ministry’s letters dated 26th May 2021 and 28th May 2021 regarding compliance with the subject Rules and your Corresponding responses dated 28th May 2021 and 2nd June 2021. MeitY is dismayed to note that your responses to the Ministry’s letters neither address the clarifications sought by this Ministry nor indicate full compliance with the Rules.

It is dear from your responses that till date Twitter has not informed about the details of the Chief Compliance Officer as required under the Rules. Further, Resident Grievance Officer and Nodal Contact Person nominated by you is not an employee of Twitter Inc. in India as prescribed in the Rules. The office address of Twitter Inc, as mentioned by you is that of a law firm in India, which is also not as per the Rules.

The provisions for significant social media intermediaries under the Rules have already come into force on 26th May 2021 and it has been more than a week but Twitter has refused to comply with the provisions of these Rules. Needless to state, such non­compliance will lead to unintended consequences including Twitter losing exemption from liability as in available under section 79 of the Information Technology (IT)Act, 2000 This has dearly been provided under rule 7of Me aforesaid Rules.

The refusal to comply demonstrates Twitter’s Lack of commitment and efforts towards providing a safe experience for the people of India on its platform. The world’s lamest democracy has been among the first countries in the world, outside the parent country of Twitter Inc., enthusiastically adopt the Twitter platform. Despite being operational in India for more than a decade, it is beyond belief that Twitter Inc. has doggedly refused to create mechanisms that will enable the people of India to resolve their issues on the platform in a timely and transparent manner and through fair prccesses, by India based, clearly identified resources. Leave alone proactively creating such a mechanism, Twitter Inc. is in the inglorious bracket of refusing to do so even when mandated by law.

The people of India, who use the Twitter platform, deserve and demand a fair mechanism to address their grievances and resolve their disputes. Users who are abused on the platform or are harassed or are subject to defamation or social abuse or become victims or a whole range of other abusive content must get a redressal mechanism that the same people of India have created through a due process of law.

Though with effect from 26th May 2021, in view of Twitter Ines non-compliance with the Rules as noted above, consequences follow. However, as gesture of goodwill, 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, 000 shall stand withdrawn and Twitter shall be liable for consequences as per the IT Act and other penal laws of India.

Sincerely,

(Rakesh Maheshwan)
Group Co-odinator, Cyber law, MeitY
gccyberlaw@meity-gov.in
Ph +91-11-24301468

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