Twitter is embroiled in a case where it is facing accusations that it is not following Centre’s IT Rules on appointing an officer in a critical post. In its reply Twitter has told the Delhi High Court that it is in the “final stages” of appointing an interim chief compliance officer and an interim resident grievance officer under the new Information Technology (IT) Rules. It also added that in “substantial compliance” with Rule 3(2) and Rule 4(1)(c) of the new IT Rules, it did appoint an interim resident grievance officer, but the person withdrew his candidature on June 21. Twitter denied that it has not complied with the intermediary guidelines.
Twitter explained that “before steps could be taken to completely formalise the agreement, the interim resident grievance officer withdrew his candidature on 21.06.2021. Therefore, the answering respondent (Twitter) is in the final stages of appointing a replacement while in the meanwhile the grievances of Indian users are being addressed by the grievance officer”.
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“Further, the answering respondent is in the final stages of appointing an interim chief compliance officer,” it told the high court in its affidavit.
Twitter also added that it may well fall within the definition of a “significant social media intermediary” under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
In the meantime, grievances raised by Indian users are being looked into by a grievance officer, it said in an affidavit submitted in response to a plea by lawyer Amit Acharya, in which he claimed non-compliance of the Centre’s new IT Rules by the platform.
The rules seek to regulate dissemination and publication of content in cyberspace, including social media platforms, and were notified in February by the central government.
In his plea, filed through advocates Akash Vajpai and Manish Kumar, Acharya said that he came to know about the alleged non-compliance when he tried to lodge a complaint against a couple of tweets.
Twitter has argued that the plea is not maintainable as a writ petition and that Acharya moved the court “prematurely” without waiting for the redressal of his grievance under the rules.
It said Acharya had no locus standi to raise a complaint with respect to the tweets in question and added it has informed that the complaint has now been considered and disposed of.
Another development today is likely to keep the spotlight on Twitter. Google, Facebook and Instagram published their first compliance report on voluntary removal of offensive posts as per new IT rules. Under the new IT rules, large digital platforms that have over 5 million users are required to publish periodic compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken thereon.
IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday praised Google, Facebook and Instagram for this move and termed it a big step towards transparency. He took to Twitter to post this message, “First compliance report on voluntary removal of offensive posts published by them as per IT Rules is a big step towards transparency.”