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Striving to comply with applicable law in India: Twitter on Delhi HC order

The company has named Bengaluru-based Dharmendra Chatur as the interim Resident Grievance Officer for India. Its peers Facebook, Google and LinkedIn too have appointed local grievance officers.

May 31, 2021 / 06:37 PM IST
Representative image (Source: Reuters)

Representative image (Source: Reuters)

After the Delhi High Court ordered microblogging platform Twitter to comply with the new IT rules, the latter says it strives to comply with laws in India. The company has also said that it has appointed a grievance officer for the country.

"As we have stated earlier, Twitter strives to comply with applicable law in India. We continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency, a commitment to empowering every voice on the service, and protecting freedom of expression and privacy under the Indian law," the Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to Moneycontrol on the ongoing proceedings at the Delhi High Court.

On May 31, the Delhi HC directed Twitter to comply with the new IT rules, which came into effect on May 26, unless it was stayed. Twitter, however, argued that it has appointed a local grievance officer as per the rules. The company’s site now has named Bengaluru-based Dharmendra Chatur as the interim Resident Grievance Officer for India.

Its peers too have appointed local grievance officers. Facebook has named Spoorthi Priya, whereas the US-based Joe Grier is Google’s grievance officer for India. Google has also advertised for Chief Compliance Officer for India.

This is a part of the ongoing standoff between the social media firms and the Indian government over the new IT rules that came into effect last week. WhatsApp has also sued the Indian government over traceability mandate.


New IT rules

The new IT rules mandate the intermediaries to create systems in place to address consumer grievances within a short period of time, appoint three key officers in India, and enable traceability of originator of content for messaging platforms like WhatsApp.

While Facebook and Google said that they will comply with the rules, Twitter had asked for three months’ time and flagged its concerns around certain aspects of the new policy.

Twitter said the firm is concerned about the requirement to make an individual (the compliance officer) criminally liable for content on the platform, the requirements for proactive monitoring, and the blanket authority to seek information about our customers.

Following the Delhi police raids on its premises, Twitter said it is worried about the safety of its employees and “intimidation tactics” by police in India. A Twitter spokesperson had also said: “Right now, we are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve.”

The government condemned Twitter’s statement on safety and freedom of speech and said that it is baseless, false and an attempt to defame India. “Twitter needs to stop beating around the bush” and comply with the new rules since “Twitter is just a social media platform and it has no locus in dictating what should India’s legal policy framework should be,” the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in a letter said.

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Swathi Moorthy
first published: May 31, 2021 06:37 pm
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