After the Indian government established New IT Rules 2021 earlier this year, Twitter has been facing some serious legal issues in the country. We saw a report last month stating that the social media giant is to lose its status as an intermediary platform in India. Now, as per a court filing, Twitter has lost liability protection against user-generated content in India.
For the uninitiated, social media platforms and internet services in India enjoy something called “safe harbor” protection. It essentially prevents the Indian government to hold an internet service or a social media platform responsible for any illegal activity or hate speech by any of its users. This protection is enjoyed by companies such as Google, Facebook, and WhatsApp.
Twitter, unfortunately, will not be able to take advantage of the “safe harbor” protection anymore as the company did not comply with the New IT Rules in India. The said guidelines require any social media company (with over 5 million users) to appoint a chief compliant officer, a resident grievance officer, and a nodal contact executive to address user issues on the platforms.
While companies like WhatsApp, Facebook, and Google have partially or fully complied with the new guidelines by appointing necessary executives, Twitter has not complied with any of the requirements. Moreover, the American social media giant has faced major criticisms over “manipulated media” tweets that escalated the situation between the government and Twitter.
“All social media platforms are welcome to do business in India. They can criticize Ravi Shankar Prasad, my Prime Minister, or anyone. The issue is of misuse of social media. Some of them say we are bound by American laws. You operate in India, make good money, but you will take the position that you’ll be governed by American laws. This is plainly not acceptable,” said India’s IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in a conference.