New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Twitter on Wednesday lost its status as an intermediary platform in India after failing to comply with the new IT rules requiring it to appoint key officers based in the country. This means that instead of being considered just a platform hosting content from various users, Twitter will now be directly editorially responsible for posts published on its platform in the country. 

According to the government, if there is any charge against Twitter for alleged unlawful content it would be treated as a publisher – not an intermediary – and be liable for punishment under any law, including IT Act, as also the penal laws of the country.

Twitter is the only social media platform among the mainstream social media platforms that have not adhered to the new IT laws enacted by the government. With this, Twitter becomes the only American platform to have lost the protective shield granted under Section 79 of the IT Act. 

Meanwhile, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also came down hard on the platform over its reluctance to comply with the new norms. "There are numerous queries arising as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbour provision. However, the simple fact of the matter is that Twitter has failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from the 26th of May," Prasad said.

He also said that Twitter was given multiple opportunities to comply with the same, however, it has "deliberately chosen" the path of non-compliance. Observing that the culture of India varies like its large geography, he said in another tweet: "In certain scenarios, with the amplification of social media, even a small spark can cause a fire, especially with the menace of fake news. This was one of the objectives of bringing the Intermediary Guidelines."

"What happened in UP was illustrative of Twitter's arbitrariness in fighting fake news. While Twitter has been over-enthusiastic about its fact-checking mechanism, its failure to act in multiple cases like UP is perplexing & indicates its inconsistency in fighting misinformation," he said.

Prasad said that it is astounding that Twitter which portrays itself as the flag bearer of free speech, chooses the path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the intermediary guidelines.

"Further, what is perplexing is that Twitter fails to address the grievances of users by refusing to set up process as mandated by the law of the land. Additionally, it chooses a policy of flagging manipulates media, only when it suits, its likes and dislikes," he said.

Responding to the government's order, the micro-blogging site said that it is keeping the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) apprised of the progress of every step in the process to comply with the new IT rules. 

"We're keeping MeitY (Ministry of Electronics & IT) apprised of progress at every step of the process. The interim Chief Compliance Officer has been retained&details will be shared with Ministry directly soon. Twitter continues to make every effort to comply with new guidelines", a Twitter spokesperson said as quoted by ANI. 

This came a day after the American-based micro-blogging site on Tuesday said it has appointed an interim Chief Compliance Officer and the details of the officials will be shared directly with the IT Ministry soon.

Earlier on June 9, Twitter had written to the government that it is making every effort to comply with new guidelines concerning social media companies and has appointed a nodal contractual person (NCP) and Resident Grievance Officer (RGO) on a contractual basis and was in advanced stages of finalising the appointment to the role of a chief compliance officer.

Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had on June 5 said that it had given Twitter one last notice to comply with the new rules concerning social media companies. The ministry said in the letter that the New Intermediary Guideline Rules have become effective from May 26.


(With Agencies Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan