New Delhi: Information and Technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday (June 16) lashed out at micro-blogging Twitter over non-compliance and failing to comply with intermediary guidelines. The Union Minister said that Twitter has deliberately chosen the path of non-compliance despite being granted multiple opportunities. "Foreign companies are free to do business in the country but they have to adhere to laws. The country is not dependent upon Twitter," the Union IT Minister said in his first reaction today.
Slamming Twitter, Prasad said that it is astounding that Twitter that portrays itself as the flag bearer of free speech, chooses the path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the Intermediary Guidelines. "There are numerous queries arising as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbour provision. However, the simple fact of the matter is that Twitter has failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from the May 26," Prasad said in a series of posts on homegrown microblogging platform Koo.
Prasad said that Indian companies, be it pharma or IT or others that go to do business in the US or in other countries overseas, voluntarily follow the local laws. "Then why are platforms like Twitter showing reluctance in following Indian laws designed to give voice to the victims of abuse and misuse," the minister questioned.
The culture of India varies like its large geography, he said, adding that in certain scenarios, with the amplification of social media, even a small spark can cause a fire, especially with the menace of fake news. "This was one of the objectives of bringing the Intermediary Guidelines," Prasad said.
In a major setback to Twitter, the microblogging platform has lost its 'safe harbour' protection in India over non-compliance with IT rules and failure to appoint key personnel mandated under the new guidelines, despite repeated reminders, and it will now be liable for action under Indian Penal Code for third party unlawful content.
Earlier this month, the government had given one last chance to Twitter to comply with the new IT rules, that came into effect on May 26, and had issued a stern warning that failure to adhere to the norms will lead to the platform losing exemption from liability under the IT Act.
The IT Ministry had questioned Twitter over not providing information about the Chief Compliance Officer as required under the rules.
Also, the resident grievance officer and nodal contact person nominated by the company is not an employee of Twitter Inc in India as prescribed in the rules, the ministry had flagged.