Most social media firms comply with govt’s IT rules; Twitter yet to follow

NEW DELHI: In response to a Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) request to provide information about compliance with the new IT Rules, most major social media intermediaries have shared the details as required, except Twitter, which is yet to send in details about its chief compliance officer.

MeitY had written to all social media firms on Wednesday to share their compliance status with the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

According to sources in the ministry, significant social media intermediaries like Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, Koo, Sharechat, Telegram, and LinkedIn have shared details of their Chief Compliance Officer, Nodal Contact Person and Grievance Officer.

“After a firm response from the government yesterday, Twitter sent a communication late last night, sharing details of a lawyer working in a law firm in India as their nodal contact person and grievance officer. The Rules require that these designated officers of the significant social media companies must be the employees of the company and resident in India. Twitter has not yet sent the details of the Chief Compliance Officer to the Ministry,” this person said.

According to the new IT Rules, published on February 25, a ‘significant social media intermediary’ (SSMI) has to appoint a chief compliance officer, a nodal contact person for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies, and a resident grievance officer. An SSMI is defined as a social media firm with over 50 lakh users.

Amid a row between the government and social media companies over the new information technology rules, Twitter India said on Thursday it would “strive to comply” with the law but voiced concerns over “the use of intimidation tactics by the police” and “potential threat to freedom of expression”.

This led to a sharp retort from the government, which termed it “an attempt to dictate its terms to the world’s largest democracy” and asked Twitter to stop “beating around the bush” and comply with the law.

Earlier, Twitter said it was also concerned by recent events regarding its employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people it serves.

“We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service, as well as with core elements of the new IT Rules,” the spokesperson added. The statement came a couple of days after WhatsApp moved the Delhi High Court against the new IT rules dubbing it an invasion of privacy.

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