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'Comply or Face Consequences': Centre Serves Final Notice to Twitter on New IT Rules

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The government also warned that failure to adhere to the norms will lead to the platform losing exemption from liability under the IT Act

The government on Saturday issued a notice to Twitter giving it one last chance to “immediately" comply with the new IT rules and warned that failure to adhere to the norms will lead to the platform losing exemption from liability under the IT Act. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said that Twitter’s refusal to comply with the rules demonstrated the microblogging site’s “lack of commitment and efforts towards providing a safe experience for the people of India on its platform".

“Despite being operational in India for more than a decade, it is beyond belief that Twitter Inc has doggedly refused to create mechanism that will enable the people of India to resolve their issues on the platform in a timely and transparent manner and through fair processes, by India based, clearly identified resources," the IT ministry said. The ministry said that though with effect from May 26, 2021, “consequences follow" given Twitter’s non-compliance with rules “however, as a gesture of goodwill, Twitter Inc is hereby given one last notice to immediately comply with the rules, failing which the exemption from liability available…shall stand withdrawn and Twitter shall be liable for consequences as per the IT Act and other penal laws of India". The notice, however, did not mention a specific date to comply with the rules. The IT ministry in its notice observed that the world’s largest democracy had been among the first countries in the world, outside the parent country of Twitter Inc, to enthusiastically adopt the microblogging platform.

“Users who are abused on the platform or are harassed or are subject to defamation or sexual abuse or become victims or a whole range of other abusive content must get a redressal mechanism that the same people of India have created through a due process of law," the IT ministry asserted. The people of India, who use Twitter, “deserve and demand" a fair mechanism to address their grievances and resolve their disputes, it said. “Leave alone proactively creating such a mechanism, Twitter Inc is in the inglorious bracket of refusing to do so even when mandated by law," the ministry said in its notice to the company.

The notice has come on a day when political circles have been abuzz with brief removal of verified blue tick from the personal handle of vice president Venkaiah Naidu, RSS leader Mohan Bhagwat and some other prominent faces of the Sangh.

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Former MyGov CEO Arvind Gupta slammed Twitter for suspending accounts based on “one-sided complaints or their own judgements of correctness."

Twitter had recently said it was committed to India as a vital market, but criticised the new IT rules and regulations, saying they “inhibit free, open public conversation". In response, the government had said Twitter was levelling “baseless and false allegations" to defame India.

It is yet to reply to the notice.

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first published:June 05, 2021, 13:27 IST