Twitter India, the Indian arm of the social media group that chose to defy the law of the Land every passing day, has chosen to verify the Popular Front of India, the Islamic fundamentalist organization that is banned in many states of India.
The Karnataka handle of PFI was verified by Twitter India with a blue badge, a few days after the organization removed the blue tick from the handles of the Vice President of India, RSS chief and many other senior officials before restoring them.
For Twitter, the verification of radical Islamist organizations is a priority instead of complying with the Indian Information Technology rules. The PFI’s role in communal tensions, organising riots, forced conversions and radicalisation of Muslim youth is abundantly known.
The PFI came into the focus after the misinformed and motivated anti-CAA violence took place in the country from December 2019, and which culminated with the anti-Hindu North-East Delhi riots of February-March 2020. The investigation agencies including Enforcement Directorate are investigating PFI laundering money to organize Delhi riots and a few months ago there were nationwide raids against it in 26 locations spread across nine states.
On Tuesday Twitter lost its ‘intermediary’ status after failing to comply with the new IT rules. The US-based company failed to employ a grievance officer in time, despite being granted repeated extensions. As a result, Twitter India MD or any other top executive functionary could face police questioning and criminal liability under IPC over ‘unlawful’ and ‘inflammatory’ content posted on the platform by any user.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, shared the news that Twitter had lost its ‘immunity’ granted under Section 79 of the IT Act in the country, despite being granted multiple opportunities to comply with the same.
He said, “Twitter was given multiple opportunities to comply with the same, however, it has deliberately chosen the path of non-compliance.”
There are numerous queries arising as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbour provision. However, the simple fact of the matter is that Twitter has failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from the 26th of May.
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) June 16, 2021
As reported by TFI, India had fixed five million registered users as the threshold for defining a significant social media company as an intermediary. After the deadline to adhere to the new IT guidelines elapsed last month on May 26, social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, and Twitter ran the risk of losing their status as “intermediaries” and could become liable for criminal action if they did not comply with the revised regulations.
While initially, all the aforementioned companies tried to stall adhering to the policy change, the government had to step in and use an iron fist to set things in motion. Although Facebook sent its subsidiary WhatsApp to the court to sue the government, it had to return empty-handed and accept the government’s decision.
Meanwhile, Twitter remained vague in its communications with the government and deliberately leaked reports in the media that it had appointed an interim Grievance officer. While the government received no update about as such, it became clear that Twitter was biding its time and trying to impede the proceedings.
Given the fact Twitter has got its priorities wrong, the organization must be taught a lesson by the Indian government as soon as possible. The Uttar Pradesh government has already filed a case against the news organization and Twitter will be shown its place very soon by the Indian judicial system.