India to Twitter: Comply with IT rules or face 'unintended consequences'

India to Twitter: Comply with IT rules or face ‘unintended consequences’

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According to a copy of an official letter seen by Reuters, India has told Twitter that it has one last chance to comply with the new IT rules, otherwise it will face “unintended consequences.”

The new rules-announced in February and effective at the end of last month-are designed to regulate content on social media and make companies such as Facebook, its WhatsApp messengers and Twitter more accountable for legal requirements.

They also asked large social media companies to establish grievance handling mechanisms and appoint new executives to coordinate with law enforcement agencies.

India’s technology ministry wrote to Twitter on May 26 and May 28 on the new rules, but the company’s responses “neither address the clarifications sought by this ministry nor indicate full compliance with the Rules,” said the June 5 letter from the technology ministry to Twitter deputy general counsel Jim Baker.

The letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, said that among other things, Twitter had yet to inform the ministry about its chief compliance officer, and its grievance officer and nodal contact person were not employees as mandated by rules.

It said such non-compliance would lead to “unintended consequences” including the possibility that Twitter could be held accountable for content posted on it, an exemption it currently largely enjoys.

It added, “However, as gesture of goodwill, Twitter Inc is hereby given one last notice to immediately comply with the Rules.”

The Ministry of Science and Technology did not respond to a request for comment. Twitter declined to comment.

The new IT rules have triggered legal disputes, including a lawsuit filed by Facebook’s WhatsApp, accusing the government of overriding its legal powers by enacting rules that force messaging apps to crack end-to-end encryption.

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