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Twitter to sue Indian government, alleging abuse of power by officials

Micro-blogging website Twitter has complied with the IT Ministry’s last notice within the final July 4 deadline, after receiving a warning to either comply with new IT Rules, 2021 or face stricter action. However, the social media giant is seeking to overturn some Indian government orders to take down content, a source familiar with the matter said, in a legal challenge which alleges abuse of power by officials.

Twitter was warned by India’s IT ministry of criminal proceedings if it did not comply with some orders.

Twitter has been asked by Indian authorities over the past year to act on content including accounts supportive of an independent Sikh state and on dozens of tweets that were critical of the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The India’s IT ministry did not immediately respond on Tuesday to a request for comment about Twitter’s legal move.

The government had asked Twitter to act on the content take-down notices sent under Section 69A of the IT Act along with non-compliance notices issued for not taking the content down.

Not complying with the IT rules, 2021 could have resulted in Twitter losing its immunity as a social media intermediary under Section 79 of the IT Act.

In May, the IT Ministry issued a similar notice to the micro-blogging platform, directing it to appoint a resident grievance officer, a resident chief compliance officer, and a nodal contact person.

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 mandate that the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, must establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving resolving complaints from the users or victims.

Meanwhile, Twitter banned more than 46,000 accounts of Indian users in May over violation of its guidelines, the microblogging platform said in its monthly compliance report.

The platform received 1,698 complaints in India via its local grievance mechanism between April 26, 2022 and May 25, 2022.

Under the new IT Rules 2021, big digital and social media platforms, with more than 5 million users, have to publish monthly compliance reports. Free Press Journal

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