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IT guidelines: Twitter deliberately chose the path of defiance, says IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

Communications and IT minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday came down heavily on Twitter for deciding on the “path of deliberate defiance” by not complying with the intermediary suggestions notified by the government. In a series of tweet and a post on the homegrown microblogging platform, Koo, Prasad mentioned that if any foreign entity believes that they can portray itself as the flag bearer of absolutely free speech in India to excuse itself from complying with the law of the land, then such attempts are misplaced.

“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 May 26,” Prasad mentioned.



He asserted that Twitter was provided numerous possibilities to comply with the guidelines, but deliberately chose the path of non-compliance.



The government’s position is that Twitter getting a considerable social media intermediary was legally expected to comply with the new Intermediary Rules by May 25, 2021, immediately after the expiry of 3 months’ time provided to all intermediary immediately after notification of Rules, but it did not comply. The lapse on the component of Twitter, according to the government is that it has not appointed a chief compliance officer (CCO), nodal get in touch with individual (NCP) and resident grievance officer (RGO) as expected by the law.

As reported by FE, as a outcome of not complying with the new Information Technology Rules, Twitter has lost its intermediary status in India. This signifies that in the occasion of any charge against it, the microblogging internet site would be treated as a publisher and not an intermediary. As a outcome, it would be liable for punishment beneath the IT Act as also other prevailing penal laws.

Intermediaries are offered exemptions and particular immunity from liabilities for any third-party content and information hosted by them beneath Section 79 of the IT Act. It is this exemption and immunity which Twitter has lost due to non-compliance of the new IT Rules.

It is pertinent to mention right here that an FIR has been filed against Twitter more than an incident in UP’s Ghaziabad district exactly where an elderly man was allegedly assaulted.

“What is perplexing is that Twitter fails to address the grievances of users by refusing to setting up process as mandated by the law of the land. Additionally, it chooses a policy of flagging manipulated media, only when it suits, its likes and dislikes,” the minister mentioned.

He mentioned that the culture of India varies like its substantial geography and in particular scenarios, with the amplification of social media, even a modest spark can trigger a fire, particularly with the menace of fake news. “This was one of the objectives of bringing the Intermediary Guidelines,” Prasad mentioned. He mentioned that Indian corporations be it pharma, IT or other folks that go to do company in USA or in other foreign nations, voluntarily comply with the neighborhood laws. “Then why are platforms like Twitter showing reluctance in following Indian laws designed to give voice to the victims of abuse and misuse?” the minister asked.

Prasad mentioned that the rule of law is the bedrock of Indian society and India’s commitment to the constitutional assure of freedom of speech was however once more reaffirmed at the G7 summit.



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