The government sent several notices to Twitter India over the last six to eight months but received “no or inadequate” response in at least five such cases, sources said.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) issued the notices to the social media platform under Section 69A of the Information Technology (IT) Act.
One case, a senior IT ministry official said, was related to an incident of communal violence and Twitter removed the content more than 72 hours after the notice was issued.
“The action (under the IT Act) has been taken only after several efforts of seeking compliance yielded no results. Any intermediary is free to do business in India and have their own content policy, but those must be within the boundaries of the domestic legal framework,” the official added.
Ministry officials did not, however, elaborate on which of the notices Twitter did not respond to or how many notices the IT ministry had sent under Section 69A.
This is not the first instance wherein the IT ministry has warned the US-based microblogging platform of the possibility of losing its intermediary status over non-compliance with regulations under the IT Act.
In May 2021, when the IT Rules, 2021 came into effect, the ministry had issued a similar warning to Twitter, asking it to appoint a resident grievance officer, a resident chief compliance officer as well as a nodal contact person, or risk losing the protection granted to it under Section 79 of the IT Act.
Instances of violation of the Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code, better known as the IT Rules, 2021, have also been noted from other significant social media intermediaries, another ministry official pointed out.
“We will be seeking a response from other platforms as well in due course of time,” the official added.
the IT ministry sent a notice on June 27 granting Twitter India “one last opportunity” to comply with the country’s IT Rules by July 4 or risk losing its immunity as an intermediary.
The ministry’s missive to Twitter came after the intermediary’s “repeated failures to act on the content take-down notices sent under Section 69A of the IT Act” as well as on “non-compliance notices issued for not taking the content down,” ministry officials had told ET.
Earlier this week, addressing an open house consultation on the proposed changes to the IT Rules, 2021, Minister of State for IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar said all social media intermediaries operational in India, irrespective of their size, would have to fully comply with the rules. Planet Concerns