This article was published on July 6, 2021

Indian government tells Twitter it’s liable for illegal content — but it’s not a done deal yet

The ball is in the court, literally

Indian government tells Twitter it’s liable for illegal content — but it’s not a done deal yet Image by: Akshar Dave/Unsplash

The Indian government has said that Twitter has lost its intermediary status, and in turn its ‘safe harbor’ in the country as it has failed to comply with the latest social media policing rules.

The authorities argued in Delhi High court that the social network has lost its immunity as per India’s IT rules. Twitter has failed to appoint local officers including a chief compliance officer, a grievance officer, and a nodal officer to handle requests from law enforcement round the clock. 

Law experts have previously argued that only courts can decide if a company could lose its intermediary status. If the court strips Twitter of this status, the firm and its employees could face penal action for posts on the platforms.

The company has declined to comment on the matter.

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In the last several weeks, various people have filed police complaints against Twitter, regarding posts related to violence, use of arms by children, and underage sexual content. The company could face action in all these cases if the court decides to rule against it. Twitter India’s head, Manish Maheshwari, has been booked in several of these cases.

India’s IT minister, RS Prasad, has criticized the social network several times and has indicated that any company operating in India has to abide by the laws of the land.

Twitter is the only major platform — with the expectation of WhatsApp, over its traceability issues — yet to company with India’s intermediary rules.

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