Minister for Electronics and Information Technology (IT) Ravi Shankar Prasad said Twitter was given three months to comply with the new IT Rules, 2021, and yet the social media platform failed to do the same. “Twitter had three months time, yet there is no compliance after giving many chances. His statements came amid reports that Twitter has lost the coveted “safe harbour" immunity in India after failing to appoint statutory officers on time.
“Social media sites are welcome to do business (in India), but they have to follow the Constitution of India. We won’t compromise with digital sovereignty," Prasad, who is also the Union Law Minister said. “Some people are doing politics on Twitter and there are some people who are doing politics for Twitter… Twitter users have nothing to pay, they just have to follow the norms," he added.
Earlier in the day, Prasad had taken to the same microblogging site to state that it is “astounding that Twitter which portrays itself as the flag bearer of free speech, chooses the path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the Intermediary Guidelines".
“Further, what is perplexing is that Twitter fails to address the grievances of users by refusing to set up process as mandated by the law of the land. Additionally, it chooses a policy of flagging manipulates media, only when it suits, its likes and dislikes," he said.
Twitter’s top executives, including the country managing director, could now face police questioning and criminal liability over ‘unlawful’ and ‘inflammatory’ content posted on the platform by any user.
With this, Twitter becomes the only American platform to have lost the protective shield – granted under Section 79 of the IT Act, even though others such as, YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp and remain protected.