On May 26, the Indian Government’s new IT rules started to operate in India. These new rules require a drastic change in the terms of giant tech companies such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter. The microblogging platform recently assured it will try complying with the new rules, but also expressed certain concerns with them. Now, the situation is becoming worst between the social media giants and the Government of India. Twitter has come out with a new statement alleging that the Government’s new rules infringe on the rights to freedom of speech. The giant also states that it has dangerous levels of overreach.
The Government of India, obviously, didn’t accept the statement so easily. It has struck back with its own statement. According to the government, Twitter is clearly trying to dictate its own terms to India subverting the law of the land. This certainly shows how the situation between social media giants and the government can become complicated in the coming weeks.
Twitter has been reluctant to comply with the new IT Rules
Among the various major tech companies in India, Twitter is one that has remained non-compliant with the new IT rules. Some of the many requirements of the law include requiring social media companies to have designated officers for grievances and compliance. These officers must be residents of India. Moreover, these platforms need to take down content where individuals maligned or shown in a sexually explicit manner.
Twitter is critical of the new rules, claiming that the rules reduce the freedom of speech for Indian citizens. Moreover, the company is worried about the rules. Especially when they state the compliance officer will be criminally liable for content on the platform. Alongside the increased proactive monitoring, the platform will also be ready to send any information demanded by the Government.
Twitter has stated that they are “deeply committed” to India. They will “strive to comply with the applicable law”. However, will also advocate for changing elements of the new law that “inhibit free, open public conversation”. This was expressed in the latest advancement. The government promptly strikes back claiming that Twitter is clearly trying to subvert the law of the land and also “dictate its terms to the world’s largest democracy”.
“The only instance of scuttling free speech on Twitter is Twitter itself and its opaque policies, as a result of which people’s accounts are suspended and tweets deleted arbitrarily without recourse.”, the Government said in its statement. Demanding compliance they stated: “Twitter needs to stop beating around the bush and comply with the laws of the land. Lawmaking and policy formulations are the sole prerogatives of the sovereign. Twitter is just a social media platform and it has no locus in dictating what India’s legal policy framework should be.”
Considering the tone of the Indian government here, we are pretty sure that companies will suffer sanctions in the coming months if they fail to comply with the new rules.