Twitter has lost its liability protection against content generated by users in India for non-compliance with IT rules in the country, the Indian government said in a court file. Under the move, company executives could be subject to criminal charges for unwanted material on its platform. TechCrunch.
Indian police have launched at least five cases against the company or its officials, including some involving child pornography and blasphemous content. Recently, a report was filed with the police in the state of Uttar Pradesh against the head of Twitter in India, Manish Maheshwari, for publishing a map of India that presented the disputed region of Kashmir as a separate country.
Twitter is lagging behind with the Indian government because of its new one Internet regulations, entitled Rules on Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Code of Ethics for Digital Media), published in February. They require social media companies to remove content within 36 hours of a legal warning and use automated processes to remove offensive material. The platforms must also appoint three permanent executives – who must be residents of India – for compliance, complaints and coordination with the police.
Twitter resident complaint officer Dharmendra Chatur was the first victim of the dispute. The executive director left office in late June. The company said earlier that it took more time to comply with the law. Meanwhile, Twitter bowed to the government requirements to take stock of ties to farmers ’protests that erupted in India last year. However, he also angered officials over his decision to label the tweets of members of the ruling BJP party as “manipulated media”.
After months of threats, the Indian government has now officially declared that Twitter has lost immunity against user-generated content. In a July 5 report, the IT Ministry told the New Delhi High Court that its decision was the result of Twitter’s violation of IT law. We contacted Twitter for comment.
Indian Minister of Information and Technology Ravi Shankar recently praised other American technology giants for following the rules. As part of its compliance reports, Facebook claimed to have taken action against 30 million pieces of content between May 15 and June 15; his Instagram subsidiary removed about two million posts in the same period; and Google said it removed 59,350 inappropriate posts.
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