THE LAW-Compliance, IT Rules & Twitter

On 5th June 2021 Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (hereinafter MeitY) noticed Twitter Inc. in order to seek the details of Chief Compliance Officer (hereinafter CCO) and further stated that the nomination of Resident Grievance Officer (RGO) and Nodal Contact Person (NCP) by Twitter are not employees of Twitter Inc. in India which is required to be so as per the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines & Digital Media Ethics Code) Rule, 2021.

It is to be noted that Twitter had earlier appointed Mr. Dharmendra Chatur as an interim Nodal Contact Person and Resident Grievance Officer. However, Mr. Dharmendra Chatur was not an employee of Twitter inc. but a lawyer working in a law firm. Therefore, MeitY asked Twitter to comply as per the rules and also stated that due to no-observance as per the rule 7, excluded the social media giant from the exemption of liability as given under section 79 of Information Technology Act, 2002. Which basically exempts intermediary in terms of liability in certain cases for e.g.- third party information, data, communication link made available or hosted by Intermediary. 

On 13th June 2020, Twitter assured and confirmed that it has posted a job description for CCO, NCP & RGO and will fill these vacancies as quickly as possible, despite repetitive reminders and clear warnings Twitter failed to comply with the rules and notice dated 5th June 2021.  Recently, it has been confirmed by Twitter that they have appointed an interim CCO and the details to be shared with MeitY directly. It is noteworthy to mention that after so many repetitive reminders Twitter is yet to appoint full time CCO, NCP and RGO.

Resultant to this Twitter-Centre War, unfortunately, Twitter has lost its intermediary platform status in India and would be liable for legal action as any publisher would be as per the Indian laws. Recently UP Govt. has filed an F.I.R. against Twitter in Loni-Uttar Pradesh for not flagging a video of the incident as “Manipulative Media”.

Now, the question comes: would Twitter be flooded with all notices, reminders, FIRs of all other sorts of legal recourse as possible? Or would this war embrace peace? Indeed, the law is above all and below none and “threatens the security of the state” is not only a shield but also a sword.  

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