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K Satish Kumar

K Satish Kumar is the SVP & Group Chief Legal Officer of Intellect Design Arena Ltd. He is actively involved in many pro bono activities through Chennai Lawyers. He is an award-winning lawyer and regularly contributes as an author in various forums.

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"Given the size of the microblogging website, complying with IT rules does not seem to be a big issue for Twitter." K Satish Kumar, Senior Vice President and Group Chief Legal Officer, Intellect Design Arena

Twitter has not only appointed a resident grievance officer but also shown its intention to comply with the new IT Rules which came into effect in May 2021, Twitter has also published a compliance report, another requirement listed in the new rules.

The New IT Rules for social media companies that came into effect mandates large social media giants like Facebook, Twitter to undertake greater due diligence and make themselves more accountable and responsible for the content hosted by them. The new IT Rules primarily require these social media giants to identify the “First originator” of any information that undermines the sovereignty of India, the security of the country or disturbs any public order.

IT Rules Requirements: The social media intermediaries - those over 50 lakh users - are required to appoint a grievance officer, a nodal officer and a Chief Compliance Officer. All these officers have to be residents in India.

Further, social media companies will have to take down flagged content within 36 hours, and remove within 24 hours content that is flagged for issues such as nudity and pornography.

Twitter and Liability Protection: Twitter has outlined how it intends to fully comply with India’s new IT Rules on social media after government said that its lack of compliance meant it could be held legally liable for its users posts. Twitter’s executive stand to face criminal charges over user generated content. The court had given Twitter a two-week deadline to make the appointments. Earlier, the Indian Government had told the court that Twitter had lost the liability protection on user-generated content in the country, as it failed to appoint compliance, grievance and nodal officers.

Subsequently, Twitter has not only appointed a resident grievance officer but also shown its intention to comply with the new IT Rules which came into effect in May 2021, Twitter has also published a compliance report, another requirement listed in the new rules. “In compliance with Rule 4(1)(d) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, we have published our inaugural report on July 11, 2021 for the reporting period from May 26, 2021 through to June 25, 2021,” twitter said on its Transparency centre page.

The Ultimatum from the Court: The court had very clearly stated earlier that Twitter will not enjoy legal protection if it does not follow India’s new IT Rules. The Court had asked Twitter to file an affidavit declaring these details within two weeks and also asked all interim officers to file affidavits stating that they would take up the responsibilities assigned to them.

Twitter and disputes: Currently twitter has already been named in four cases in various states. Twitter had earlier clashed with the government over the new IT Rules which it said were against the Constitution. The clashes further intensified after twitter tagged tweets by BJP leaders on an alleged “Congress toolkit” as “manipulated media”.

Given the size of the microblogging website, complying with these requirement does not seem to be a big issue for it. But Twitter seems to have taken these disputes to a different level altogether. It has to realize that it cannot fight with Indian Government which is one of the largest market for Twitter. It has to fall in line with complying with the local laws and should not have a belligerent stand.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house


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