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Twitter Names Vinay Prakash as Resident Grievance Officer for India to Follow New IT Rules After HC Rap

Twitter logo (Reuters)

Twitter logo (Reuters)

The company has also published its compliance report for the period of May 26, 2021, to June 25, 2021. This was another key requirement under the IT rules.

Twitter has named Vinay Prakash as its Resident Grievance Officer for India, according to the company’s website. The US-based company has been in the eye of a storm over its alleged failure to comply with the new IT rules in India, which mandates, among other requirements, the appointment of three key personnel — chief compliance officer, nodal officer and grievance officer by social media platforms with over 50 lakh users. All the three personnel have to be residents in India.

As per the information updated on Twitter’s website, Vinay Prakash is the Resident Grievance Officer (RGO). Users can contact him using an email ID listed on the page. “Twitter can be contacted in India at the following address: 4th Floor, The Estate, 121 Dickenson Road, Bangalore 560 042," the page further said. Prakash’s name appears along with Jeremy Kessel, who is the Global Legal Policy Director, and is based in the US.

The company has also published its compliance report for the period of May 26, 2021, to June 25, 2021. This was another key requirement under the IT rules that came into effect on May 26. Twitter had previously appointed Dharmendra Chatur as its interim resident grievance officer for India as required by the IT rules. However, Chatur stepped down last month. Twitter has been at loggerheads with the Indian government over the new social media rules. The government has confronted Twitter over deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the country’s new IT rules, despite repeated reminders. Twitter — which has an estimated 1.75 crore users in India — lost its legal shield as an intermediary in India, becoming liable for users posting any unlawful content.

On July 8, Twitter had informed the Delhi High Court that it has appointed an interim chief compliance officer, who is a resident of India, and that it will make an endeavour to fill the regular position within eight weeks as per the new IT Rules. It had also said it was in the process of making an appointment to an Indian resident as its interim RGO and it expected to do so on or before July 11 and details would be updated on its ‘Help Page’ as soon as possible.

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Meanwhile, Twitter received 94 grievances and “actioned" 133 URLs between May 26 and June 25, the microblogging platform said in its maiden monthly compliance report as mandated by the IT rules.

Twitter, in the report titled ‘India Transparency Report: User Grievances and Proactive Monitoring July 2021’, said it had received 94 grievances via its grievance officer-India channel between May 26, 2021, and June 25, 2021, that included content on Twitter. This includes complaints received from individual users with accompanying court orders.

The majority of complaints received in this channel during the reporting period fell into categories including defamation (20), abuse/harassment (6), sensitive adult content (4), impersonation and privacy infringement (3 each), IP-related Infringement (1), and misinformation/synthetic and manipulated media (1). The total number of URLs actioned in these categories stood at defamation (87), abuse/harassment (38), sensitive adult content (nil), impersonation (1), privacy infringement (6), IP-related infringement (nil), and misinformation/synthetic and manipulated media (1), as per the report.

“In addition to the above data, we processed 56 grievances which were appealing Twitter account suspensions. These were all resolved and the appropriate responses were sent," Twitter said. It added that the platform “overturned seven of the account suspensions based on the specifics of the situation, but the other accounts remain suspended".

In a separate category — ‘Proactive Monitoring Data’, Twitter said 18,385 accounts were suspended over the issue of child sexual exploitation, non-consensual nudity, and similar content, while 4,179 accounts were suspended for promotion of terrorism. Twitter, however, said the ‘Proactive Monitoring Data’ represents global actions taken, and not just actions related to content from India.

‘Proactive Monitoring’ refers to content proactively identified by employing internal proprietary tools and industry hash sharing initiatives, it added. Twitter said each user complaint received via the India grievance channel is assessed under its terms of service (ToS) and rules, and any content that is determined to be in violation is “actioned" in line with its range of enforcement options.

This includes tweet level enforcement (like labeling of tweets, limiting visibility and removal), direct message-level enforcement and Account-level enforcement ( includes permanent suspension) among other actions. Twitter noted that going forward, it will publish this report on a monthly basis and that it will make improvements over time, based on feedback received from the government, or in accordance with internal changes that allow it to provide more granular data.

(with inputs from PTI)

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first published:July 11, 2021, 10:35 IST