Twitter is making every effort to comply with new digital guidelines as it understands the “importance of these regulations”, said the micro-blogging site to the Government of India on Wednesday, while also promising to update within a week.
In a statement, the social media giant said, “Twitter has been and remains deeply committed to India, and serving vital public conversation taking place on the service. We have assured Govt of India that Twitter is making every effort to comply with new guidelines.”
“An overview on our progress has been duly shared (with the Government of India). We will continue our constructive dialogue with the Indian Government,” it added.
The company said it has hired a Nodal Contact Person (NCP) and a Resident Grievance Officer (RGO) on a contractual basis and is “in the advanced stages of finalizing” a Chief Compliance Officer.
“We understand the importance of these regulations and have endeavored in good faith to comply with the guidelines, including with respect to hiring personnel in India. The guidelines were notified on February 25 and the global impact of the pandemic has made it more difficult for us as a practical matter to make certain arrangements necessary to comply with the Guidelines within the stipulated time-frame,” the statement said.
“We plan to provide additional details to you in the next several days, and at the latest within a week,” it further said.
The response from Twitter comes after the government, last week, issued a strongly-worded final notice to the company regarding its non-compliance with the new rules.
In its notice, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had said that Twitter’s refusal to comply with the rules demonstrated the micro-blogging site’s “lack of commitment and efforts towards providing a safe experience for the people of India on its platform”.
“Despite being operational in India for more than a decade, it is beyond belief that Twitter Inc has doggedly refused to create mechanism that will enable the people of India to resolve their issues on the platform in a timely and transparent manner and through fair processes, by India based, clearly identified resources,” the ministry had said.
The new IT rules for social media companies that came into effect last month mandate large platforms like Facebook and Twitter to undertake greater due diligence and make these digital platforms more accountable and responsible for the content hosted by them.
The rules also require significant social media intermediaries — providing services primarily in the nature of messaging — to enable identification of the “first originator” of the information that undermines the sovereignty of India, the security of the state, or public order.
Under the rules, significant social media intermediaries — those with over 50 lakh users — are required to appoint a grievance officer, a nodal officer and a chief compliance officer. These personnel have to be residents in India.
Further, social media companies will have to take down flagged content within 36 hours, and remove within 24 hours content that is flagged for issues such as nudity and pornography.
As per the ministry’s notice, though with effect from May 26, 2021, “consequences follow” given Twitter’s non-compliance with rules, “as a gesture of goodwill, Twitter Inc is hereby given one last notice to immediately comply with the rules, failing which the exemption from liability available” shall stand withdrawn and Twitter shall be liable for consequences as per the IT Act and other penal laws of India”.