Twitter has appointed a resident grievance officer for India as mandated under the new information technology rules, the social media giant’s website showed on Sunday.
The updated details showed Vinay Prakash as the new grievance officer, along with his contact details and address, to whom users can report potential violations of Twitter rules and terms. His name appears along with Jeremy Kessel, who is the global legal policy director and is based in the United States.
The new rules – which were announced in February and became effective in May – are framed to regulate social media companies, streaming and digital news content, virtually bringing them, for the first time, under the ambit of government supervision.
Apart from grievance officers, social media platforms with over 50 lakh users have to appoint chief compliance officers in order to make sure the rules are followed, nodal officers to coordinate with law enforcement agencies. All the personnel have to be based in India.
Twitter has also published its compliance report for the period from May 26, 2021, to June 25, 2021. This is another key requirement under the new guidelines.
Between May 26 and June 25, Twitter took action against 133 posts, according to the report. Of these, 87 were defamatory posts, while 38 amounted to abuse or harassment. The microblogging platform also suspended 18,385 accounts for “child sexual exploitation, non-consensual nudity and similar content” and 4,179 accounts for “promotion of terrorism”, the report stated.
The new digital media rules mandate a monthly compliance report from social media companies with over 50 lakh users in India.
Earlier this month, Facebook, in its first monthly report, said that it took action against more than 3 crore content pieces between May 15 and June 15. Instagram, a photo and video sharing platform owned by Facebook, took action against 11.58 lakh pieces of content.
Last month, Google had said it removed 59,350 pieces of content based on 27,762 complaints it received in April.
Twitter vs the Centre
Since the rules came into effect on May 26, conflict between the Modi government and the US social media firm has ratcheted up.
The Centre has repeatedly criticised Twitter for not fully complying with the new IT rules. It told the Delhi High Court on Monday that Twitter had lost its “safe harbour immunity” because of that. Twitter will be stripped of the protection social media websites have against legal proceedings for unlawful content posted by users if the court accepts the Centre’s submission.
On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court pulled up the company for not appointing a grievance officer. “If Twitter thinks it can take as long it wants in our country, I will not allow that,” Justice Rekha Palli had said.
On Thursday, the High Court warned that it would not protect Twitter against legal proceedings if it does not comply with the Centre’s guidelines. Palli had refused to give eight weeks’ time to Twitter to make its appointments.
The police in India have filed four cases against Twitter in less than a month, marking an escalation in the row between the United States company and authorities in India. Former Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had claimed that Twitter was deliberately defying the law. After a Cabinet reshuffle, his successor Ashwini Vaishnaw also said that “the law of land is supreme”.