Twitter No Longer Enjoys Immunity Under IT Law, Government Tells High Court

Union Minister for Law & Justice, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad and the Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, Shri Prakash Javadekar addressing a press conference (Photograph: PIB)

Twitter No Longer Enjoys Immunity Under IT Law, Government Tells High Court

Twitter failed to comply with the requirements of India's new rules for digital companies and has lost immunity granted to intermediaries, the central government told the Delhi High Court.

The government’s response came on a petition that sought directions to the micro-blogging site to appoint a resident grievance officer and comply with other requirements under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.

The new IT Rules, notified in February, added additional compliance requirements for significant social media intermediaries—or companies with more than 50 lakh users.

Such companies were required to appoint a chief compliance officer, a nodal officer and a grievance officer, all residents of India. The appointments were to be made within three months of the notification. On May 26, the government sought details and asked companies to share their physical addresses in India.

The central government’s affidavit listed Twitter's:

  • Failure to appoint a chief compliance officer.

  • Vacant position of the resident grievance officer.

  • Vacant position of nodal contact person.

  • Unavailability of the physical contact address, shown on May 29, on Twitter’s website.

According to the new rules, failure to comply will result in intermediaries losing the protection granted under Section 79 of the IT Act from any liability over content on their platforms, subject to guidelines prescribed by the central government. The government said Twitter is in breach has lost the immunity.

The public interest litigation seeking compliance by Twitter will be taken up for hearing on Tuesday.

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