Twitter, which has been at odds with the Indian government, is expected to lose its intermediate status in India because it has not complied with the amended IT legislation, which took effect on May 26.
What this means is that Twitter might now face the same legal consequences as the person who posted the illegal materials (obscene photographs or impersonation) on its platform. Twitter’s “safe harbor” status will be revoked because it has been late, if not outright reckless, in complying with the law of the land.
In fact, the first complaint has already been launched against it in Uttar Pradesh.
Twitter’s Actions Fall Short Of What Is Required By Law
The new rules, known as the Intermediary Guidelines, were announced in February with the goal of regulating content on social media platforms like Facebook (FB.O), its WhatsApp messenger, and Twitter, as well as making them more accountable to legal requests for prompt removal of posts and sharing information on message originators.
When the Indian government issued a last warning to Twitter, it said that failure to follow the laws might result in unexpected consequences, including the loss of Twitter’s exemption from liability as an intermediary.
Twitter announced yesterday that it had chosen an interim chief compliance officer and that the details would be shared with the government soon. However, it has yet to select three senior executives, who must be permanent workers under India’s new IT laws. On a contract basis, it did appoint a lawyer as its interim grievance and nodal officer. However, those actions fell short of the legal standards.
Twitter had previously stated that it will “strive to comply with applicable law,” but had requested more time and revisions to parts of the rules that restrict free speech. The corporation was accused by the government of attempting to undermine the judicial system of the country.
What Exactly Happened?
According to police, journalists falsely implied that a Muslim man was beaten by Hindu men while tweeting a video of the alleged incident.
The video, which went viral on June 7, shows five men assaulting an elderly Muslim man in the Ghaziabad region of Uttar Pradesh’s northern state.
Abdul Samad’s beard is also being shaved by the males. Many people, including journalists Rana Ayyub, Saba Naqvi, and Mohammed Zubair, shared the video, which has no audio.
On the same day, another video of Mr Samad went viral, accusing the guys of forcing him to shout Jai Shri Ram (Hail Lord Ram), a Hindu prayer that is also used as a greeting.
However, authorities claim that the incident had no religious overtones, and the men who assaulted Mr Samad have been apprehended. Officials further stated that Mr. Samad gave them amulets to offer them luck and success. They went on to say that the men who beat him up were angry because he didn’t bring them good luck.
The tweets have been deleted by the majority of journalists, but Twitter has yet to respond.
Twitter Is Facing Its First Legal Action
In general, the assumption is that Twitter is employing a half-baked method in order to avoid breaking the law and play the victim. Other social media services, such as Facebook and WhatsApp, have complied with the law’s provisions.
In the end, the first case holding Twitter liable for third-party information was filed late last night in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, in relation to an alleged assault on an elderly Muslim man on June 5. In a First Information Report (FIR), Twitter is accused of failing to remove “misleading” content related to the incident.
The incident was given a communal color without verification of facts, according to police, and Twitter did nothing to stop the video from going viral.
Separately, the Indian Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information and Technology has summoned Twitter to testify before it on June 18 about the prevention of platform exploitation.
India is a significant market for the microblogging service, with an estimated 1.75 crore users.