Barely a month after Ashwini Vaishnaw took charge as the Union Minister of Electronics and Information Technology; Twitter has finally dropped its sanctimonious charade and submitted to the revised IT laws of the country. The social media firm, in its affidavit to the High Court, stated that it had appointed a permanent Resident Grievance Officer (RGO), Chief Compliance Officer (CCO) and Nodal Contact officer (NCO) on August 4 in compliance with the rules.
Twitter in its affidavit stated, “Twitter Inc initially hired Vinay Prakash through a third party contractor… the initial appointment was done this way to expedite it because Twitter Inc did not have a corporate presence in India. The appointment was considered contingent because Twitter Inc is expected to convert the position to a full-time employee as soon as practicable. Twitter Inc has since converted Prakash to a full-time employee effective August 4, 2021,”
The affidavit added Prakash is fully capable of performing the functions of Chief Compliance Officer and Resident Grievance Officer as per new IT rules. And, it added that Shahin Komath has been appointed as Nodal Contact Person.
However, the centre being circumspect, told the court that it needed to verify the information as the next hearing of the case was set for August 10. It is pertinent to note that the deadline to adhere to the IT laws had elapsed on May 2. Barring Twitter, all other social media tech giants had readily complied with the rules.
The immediate result of Twitter adhering to India’s IT laws was evident when Congress party scion Rahul Gandhi’s tweet where he had shown the photo of a rape victim was taken down.
The tweet that showed a picture of Gandhi meeting the family members of a minor girl showed as ‘no longer available’ on the microblogging website for violating its rules. A click on the tweet led to a message that read: “This tweet violated the Twitter rules.”
“Parents’ tears are saying only one thing — their daughter, the daughter of this country, deserves justice. And I am with them on this path to justice.” Gandhi had tweeted in Hindi on Wednesday whilst posting a picture of his meeting with the minor’s family.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Chief Priyank Kanoongo has taken cognisance of Rahul’s tweet and has demanded Twitter take suitable action, even after deleting the tweet. Currently, the child rights’ body is waiting for a response from both the Delhi Police and Twitter, following which an FIR might also get registered against Rahul Gandhi.
Twitter’s appointment of a proper grievance redressal officer comes after Prime Minister Narendra Modi overhauled his cabinet, and brought in Ashwini Vaishnaw as the new minister for electronics and information technology.
Fresh into the office, Ashwini Vaishnaw had shot off a warning for Twitter. The new minister immediately after his oath has remarked that the law of the land is supreme, and Twitter will have to fall in line with the new social media and intermediary guidelines.
“Whoever is a citizen of India and those who stay in India will have to abide by the laws of the country.” he had said.
Twitter is no longer granted an intermediary status in India. As such, it is liable to be prosecuted under relevant sections of the law for any hateful and illegal content posted on its platform. It is liable for prosecution now, and the barrage of cases that Twitter India is facing speak to the same effect.