Major tech giants including WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter have been in a spat with the Indian Government over new IT rules. These companies are mandated to appoint a nodal officer, chief compliance officer, and grievance officer from India to ensure smooth redressal of customers’ grievances and avoid misuse of social media.
The Indian Government had given one last chance to Twitter last week to fill these vacancies. The tech giant had delayed in filling these positions and also cited the rampant spread of COVID-19 as an excuse for the same.
Hence to speed up the appointments, Twitter invited applications for these vacancies on LinkedIn. Anyone having the required skills and qualifications could apply for the same. The candidates needed to be employees of the company and residents of India.
The minimum experience sought was six years, and knowledge about the Indian legal system was preferred. The suitable candidate must know the legal rights of the people who have accounts on Twitter.
Appointments By Twitter As Mandated By The Government – The Story So Far
On Tuesday, Twitter announced that it has appointed an interim chief compliance officer whose details will be shared with the IT ministry soon. However, there was a delay from the end of Twitter, which had assured the Government to fill the post within a week on June 5th.
It has led to Twitter losing its intermediary status in India. It means that it can be held liable for any content posted by any user on the platform.
It makes Twitter the first tech giant to lose its intermediary status due to failure to comply with the new IT rules. The deadline was May 25th, which was extended as a goodwill gesture. The company, however, failed to comply with the extended deadline also, thus leading to the revocation of its status.
A Standing Committee Headed By Shashi Tharoor Formed
Twitter representatives have been summoned by the Standing Committee headed by Shashi Tharoor to clarify the steps that they have taken to prevent the misuse of social media. They are to appear before the committee on June 18th.
The issue that is bound to be discussed is that of Twitter flagging a few posts of BJP leaders as “manipulated media”. As per IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, Twitter flags contents “only when it suits”.
Implications Of Revocation Of Intermediary Status
Losing its intermediary status puts Twitter at grave risk of being sued if any user posts something illegal or outrageous on the platform. A similar thing happened when the Uttar Pradesh Police filed an FIR against the social media giant yesterday after 11 PM.
The FIR also targets a journalist and two Congress leaders for the alleged assault of a Muslim man in Loni, Ghaziabad. The video was shared on Twitter in which six men are beating the victim and chopping off his beard.
“There is no communal angle to the incident in Loni where a man was thrashed and his beard was chopped off. The following entities — The Wire, Rana Ayyub, Mohammad Zubair, Dr Shama Mohammed, Saba Naqvi, Maskoor Usmani, Slaman Nizami — without checking the fact, started giving communal colour to the incident on Twitter and suddenly they started spreading messages to disrupt the peace and bring differences between the religious communities,” wrote the Ghaziabad Police in their FIR.
The complaint mentions Twitter because it is now responsible for every content posted on it.
If Twitter complies with the new IT rules, then it may regain its lost status and come under the umbrella of legal protection.
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