The popular social media network, micro brogging platform Twitter, has announced today that it will comply with India’s new Intermediary Guidelines ( 2021). The company’s statement comes just two days after fellow American tech giants, Facebook and Google, said they aim to comply with the new rules. Twitter also expresses its concern over a recent raid on its Gurugram offices, carried out by the Delhi Police. The raids happened just two days after the Indian government wrote the company, against a “manipulated media” tag placed on pots by the ruling party. It has to do with a social media “toolkit” allegedly created by the Congress party.
The company’s full statement can be read below:
“Twitter is deeply committed to the people of India. Our service has proven vital for public conversation and a source of support for people during the pandemic. To keep our service available, we will strive to comply with applicable law in India. But, just as we do around the world, we will continue to be strictly guided by principles of transparency, a commitment to empowering every voice on the service, and protecting freedom of expression and privacy under the rule of law.
Right now, we are concerned about recent events regarding our employees in India. We are aware of the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve. We, alongside many in civil society in India and around the world, have concerns with regards to the use of intimidation tactics by the police in response to enforcement of our global Terms of Service, as well as with core elements of the new IT Rules. Twitter plans to advocate for changes to elements of these regulations that inhibit free, open public conversation. We will continue our constructive dialogue with the Indian Government and believe it is critical to adopt a collaborative approach. It is the collective responsibility of elected officials, industry, and civil society to safeguard the interests of the public.”
Putting Twitter aside, Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, reiterated the company’s plans to comply with the rules last night. For those unaware, the new IT rules in India came into effect on May 26. Since then, we have been seeing a lot of speculation going around about a ban on the companies that aren’t complying with the new rules. For now, most of the bans reports were fake. However, not all social media firms are willing to comply with the new rules. For these companies, the government wrote a letter, asking for an update on their compliance status.
According to these new rules, ‘significant’ intermediaries are required to have a chief compliance officer. They will also need a nodal contact person and a grievance officer. All three need to be residents of India. Certain companies will also need to break encryption in certain extreme cases to track down users. However, the government states that this will only be necessary to track messages or users sending sexually explicit content for example.
We expect more news in this regard in the coming days, from Twitter and other important social network companies.