IT rules: IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad comes hard at Twitter

On Wednesday, IT and Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad came hard at Twitter by saying that the micro-blogging platform chose the “path of deliberate defiance” by not complying with the intermediary guidelines under the new IT rules notified by the Government. Prasad took to Koo, an Indian micro-blogging platform, to voice his angst against Twitter for not abiding by the IT rules. He said that Twitter could present itself as the flag bearer of free speech in India to excuse itself from complying with the Indian laws.

IT Minister said that there existed numerous queries as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbor provision. He noted that the simple fact of the matter is that Twitter has failed to comply with the new IT rules that came into effect on May 26.

The Indian Government is visibly mad at Twitter as they believe Twitter being a prominent social media intermediary, was legally obliged to abide by the new Intermediary Rules by May 25, 2021, after the expiry of three months given to all intermediary after notification of Rules.

The major lapse on the part of the micro blogging platform, as pointed out by the Government, is that they have not yet appointed a chief compliance officer (CCO), nodal contact person (NCP), and resident grievance officer (RGO), which is a requirement under the Intermediary Guidelines.

For non-complying with the new IT rules, Twitter has lost its intermediary status in India, indicating that in the event of any charge against it, Twitter would be treated as a publisher and will be made liable for punishment under the IT act.

The IT Minister also said that rule of law is the bedrock of Indian society and noted that Twitter fails to address user’s grievances by refusing to set up a process as mandated by the law of the land. He also accused Twitter of following a policy of flagging manipulated media. He also questioned why Twitter showed reluctance in following Indian rules designed to give voice to the victims of abuse and misuse.