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Appointing Compliance Officer Not Enough, Consistent Compliance With IT Rules Holds The Key Say Legal Experts

Considering the onerous requirements along with the nature of the microblogging website, the compliance regime presents challenges whereas non compliance presents risks. Twitter's consistent and committed approach towards the law of the law of the land will become clear in the coming months.

Amid the ongoing tussle with the government over delay in complying with the amended IT Rules, Twitter India's website on Sunday listed Vinay Prakash as the Resident Grievance Officer.

The micro-blogging website has been in the line of fire after delaying the compliance requirements mandated under the new IT Rules. In fact, the Delhi High Court had last week denied Twitter any interim protection against losing legal immunity from third-party content posted on the website.

Twitter Files 1st Compliance Report Under The IT Rules, 2021

In addition to appointing an Indian resident grievance redressal officer, Twitter has also filed its first compliance report under the new rules.

The monthly report gives a glimpse of proactive measures taken by Twitter. The total count of grievances received for the period of May 26 to July 25 stands at 94. The report further gives a breakup of the different categories of grievances received by the platform.

The transparency report also mentions the number of accounts suspended and the number of URLs blocked in compliance with the IT rules.

Twitter has promised the stakeholders that it will publish the monthly transparency report with granular details and work promptly on the feedback received.

Appointment of GRO only the first step, Twitter still has a long way to go

Twitter is a significant social media intermediary with more than 50 lakh users. So there are a host of compliances that are to be complied with.

As Puneet Bhasin, Founder, Cyber Jure Legal Consulting points out, appointing a grievance redressal officer being appointed by Twitter is definitely the step in the direction of compliance. However, just the appointment of an officer is not enough. The officer has to address the grievances within the timeline specified, has to perform his duties, the appeals to the grievances have to be heard by the three-tier grievance redressal mechanism, they have to have an officer who's even present for the meetings of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. So, there is a lot of other compliance also that has to be put into place by Twitter and just the appointment of a grievance redressal officer is not enough.

Compliance regime riddled with a slight wave of fear

Non-compliance with the IT Rules also presents the alarming possibility of being dragged to court at every second instance. Stressing on the big change the world of social media is going through,

On the other hand, compliance requirements are steep considering the nature of the microblogging website.  After all, with Twitter's user base of more than 1.75 crore Indians which is as good as the population of a European country, one can only imagine an increased cost of compliance and burden of compliance.

From Delhi Police raiding Twitter's office in May to Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari's name being included in an FIR, there is a slight wave of panic and fear amongst the social media company. 

Kritika Seth says, Founding Partner, Victoriam Legalis - Advocates & Solicitors says,

These rules are definitely going to create fear amongst the industry as its impact is going to be both strategical and operational. Though the Government claims to have balanced the policies with the workings of the tech investments, I definitely see an undercurrent of interference which could not only create fear amongst the platforms like Twitter but also amongst the users- thus impacting the market. 

Considering the onerous requirements along with the nature of the microblogging website, the compliance requirements presents challenges whereas non compliance presents risks. Twitter's consistent and committed approach towards the law of the law of the land will become clear in the coming months.


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Vinay Prakash twitter IT Rules Resident Grievance Officer

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