Twitter has lost its legal protection in India from prosecution over users’ posts because it has not yet complied with all the provisions of the rules that came into force on May 25, according to the Ministry of Electronics and IT sources.
“Due to their non-compliance, their protection as an intermediary is gone. Twitter is liable for penal actions against any Indian law just as any publisher is,” the sources told the media.
This came shortly after a case was filed against Twitter in Uttar Pradesh over a video which went viral on the social media platform. The video showed four men beating an elderly man, chopping his beard, and asking him to chant ”Jai Shri Ram” in the Loni area of Ghaziabad.
Twitter has been accused in a First Information Report (FIR) of not removing “misleading” content linked to the incident.
According to the police, the old man was attacked by six men — Hindus and Muslims – who were upset over amulets he had sold them.
Twitter and several journalists, in the Police FIR, have been charged for inciting “communal sentiments” with posts sharing the man’s allegations on the assault.
Police said that on the night of June 14 they had put out a press release through their Twitter handle giving details and refuting the communal angle. The police alleged that despite their clarification, users did not delete the tweets and Twitter did not take any steps to get the tweets removed.
“Since they do not enjoy any protection and they did not flag this video as manipulated media, they are liable for penal action,” government sources said.
The government said that Twitter is likely to lose its status as intermediary platform in India for not complying with new guidelines. “Twitter to lose its status as intermediary platform in India as it does not comply with new guidelines, it is the only social media platform among mainstream that has not adhered to new laws,” government sources said media.
Twitter appointed an interim Chief Compliance Officer on June 15 and said the details of the official will be shared with the IT Ministry directly soon.
The company “continues to make every effort” to comply with the new guidelines and is keeping the IT Ministry apprised of progress at every step of the process, a Twitter spokesperson said.