"Won't Protect If Centre Acts Over Non-Compliance": High Court To Twitter

Twitter gave a time frame two days after Delhi High Court warned that it cannot take "as long as it wants" in this country to appoint an India-based officer for it to comply with country's new IT rules.

Twitter told Delhi High Court that it will make its first compliance report public by July 11.

New Delhi:

Twitter will not enjoy legal protection if it does not follow India's new information technology rules, which includes clauses like appointing compliance officers based in the country, the Delhi High Court told the social media giant on Thursday.

The remark came after Twitter told the court that it has appointed an interim chief compliance officer, who is a resident of India, two days ago but sought eight weeks to appoint a grievance officer in the country.

Twitter said an interim grievance officer will be appointed by July 11 and that an interim nodal contact person will be appointed in two weeks.

The social media giant also told the court that it will make its first compliance report public by July 11.

The court asked the social media company to file an affidavit declaring these details formally within two weeks and also asked all interim officers appointed by Twitter to file affidavits stating they would take responsibility for the duties tasked to them.

Stating that it still reserved the right to challenge the new rules, Twitter gave a time-frame two days after the court warned that it cannot take "as long as it wants" in this country to appoint an India-based officer for it to comply.

Appointments for three full-time positions - a chief compliance officer, a resident grievance officer and a nodal contact person - will be made in eight weeks, Twitter said, adding it is accepting applications for these roles for which job openings have been posted.

The IT rules, which became effective end-May, are aimed at regulating content on social media and making firms act more swiftly on legal requests for removal of posts and sharing details on the originators of messages.

The central government said in a court filing earlier this week that Twitter no longer has liability protection against user-generated content in India as the US microblogging giant has failed to comply with the new rules.

The filing came in a case against Twitter by a user who wanted to complain about some allegedly defamatory tweets on the platform and said the company was not following the new IT rules, which also require the appointment of certain new executives.

"While Twitter is striving to comply with the 2021 Rules, Twitter reserves its right to challenge the legality, validity... of the Rules," Twitter said in the filing.

The San Francisco, California-based company is setting up a liaison office in India, it added.

India's technology ministry has previously slammed Twitter publicly for deliberately defying the law and said all social media firms must abide by the new rules.

On Tuesday, Delhi High Court gave a stern warning to the company over the appointment of a grievance officer. "How long does your process take? If Twitter thinks it can take as long it wants in our country, I will not allow that," Justice Rekha Palli had said.

Last month, Dharmendra Chatur, who was appointed as Twitter India's interim grievance redressal officer, resigned amid the government's clashes with the American firm over a range of issues, including its stand on the IT rules.

After Mr Chatur quit, Twitter appointed its US-based Global Legal Policy Director Jeremy Kessel as a grievance officer for India. The new rules, however, require an Indian resident for the role.