The US digital giant has been engaged in a tussle with the Indian government over the new social media rules. The government has slammed Twitter for deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the country’s new IT rules, which has led to the microblogging platform losing its legal shield as an intermediary in India, and becoming liable for users posting any unlawful content.
The US digital giant has been engaged in a tussle with the Indian government over the new social media rules. The government has confronted Twitter for deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the country’s new IT rules, despite repeated reminders.
Notably, the microblogging platform has lost its legal shield as an intermediary in India, becoming liable for users posting any unlawful content. On Monday, social media users slammed Twitter’s gross misrepresentation of India’s map, that appears on its career section. The global map, showing Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh outside India, triggered angry responses from netizens who are demanding stringent action be initiated against the microblogging platform that has flouted rules on multiple occasions in the past.
In October last year, Twitter came under heavy criticism and faced backlash after its geotagging feature displayed ‘Jammu & Kashmir, People’s Republic of China’ in a live broadcast from Leh’s Hall of Fame, a war memorial for fallen soldiers in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
India has issued a stern warning to Twitter that time, making it clear that any disrespect of the country’s sovereignty and integrity is totally unacceptable. In November, government issued a notice to Twitter for showing Leh as part of Jammu and Kashmir instead of the Union Territory of Ladakh, as Centre lambasted the platform for disrespecting the territorial integrity of India by showing an incorrect map.
Twitter’s apparent heavyhandedness has come under government scrutiny when the microblogging platform did not fully complied with the new rules, called intermediary Guidelines, that mandate setting up a robust grievance redressal mechanism and appointing officers to coordinate with law enforcement.
The rules became effective from May 26; and Twitter, even after the expiry of the additional time, had not appointed the requisite officers, leading to it losing the ‘safe harbour’ immunity. Even in the backdrop of heightened strained relations with the Indian government, Twitter on Friday briefly blocked IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad from accessing his account over alleged violation of US copyright law – a move that was immediately slammed by the minister as being arbitrary and in gross violation of IT rules.
Meanwhile, Twitter’s interim grievance officer for India, Dharmendra Chatur, has quit within weeks of taking over the key role.
California-based Jeremy Kessel has now been named as India’s grievance redressal officer, on the platform’s website – although the appointment does not meet the requirements of new IT rules, which clearly mandate key officers including the grievance officer, to be resident in India.
Twitter and the government have been at loggerheads over multiple instances in the past months, including during the farmers’ protest and later when the microblogging platform tagged political posts of several leaders of the ruling party BJP as ‘manipulated media’, triggering a sharp rebuke from the centre.