Twitter should abide by laws of India: IT min Ashwini Vaishnav after social media giant moves court against India's content blocking orders

The social media giant has moved the Karnataka High Court to overturn Indian government orders to take down some content on its platform

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, July 05, 2022, 06:09 PM IST
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Twitter/@AshwiniVaishnaw

After Twitter is reportedly seeking to overturn some Indian government orders to take down content, Union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnav said no matter what company it is, in any sector, it should abide by the laws of India.

The social media giant has moved the Karnataka High Court to overturn Indian government orders to take down some content on its platform, on the grounds that the content blocking orders from the IT Ministry do not pass "the test of the grounds provided under Section 69A of the IT Act".

"This is the responsibility of everyone to abide by the laws passed by the Parliament," said the Information Technology Minister.

"An ecosystem, thought process that social media should be held accountable, is spreading in our country as well as globally. Rapid work is underway on how to make it accountable," Vaishnav said.

Further he said, "Social media accountability has become a valid question globally."

"It's important to hold it accountable, which will first start with self-regulation, then industry regulation, followed by govt regulation," the IT Minister explained.

For the unversed, Twitter has been asked by Indian authorities over the past year to act on content including accounts supportive of an independent Sikh state and on dozens of tweets that were critical of the government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The India's IT ministry did not immediately respond on Tuesday to a request for comment about Twitter's legal move.

The government had asked Twitter to act on the content take-down notices sent under Section 69A of the IT Act along with non-compliance notices issued for not taking the content down.

Not complying with the IT rules, 2021 could have resulted in Twitter losing its immunity as a social media intermediary under Section 79 of the IT Act.

In May, the IT Ministry issued a similar notice to the micro-blogging platform, directing it to appoint a resident grievance officer, a resident chief compliance officer, and a nodal contact person.

The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 mandate that the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries, must establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving resolving complaints from the users or victims.

Meanwhile, Twitter banned more than 46,000 accounts of Indian users in May over violation of its guidelines, the microblogging platform said in its monthly compliance report.

The platform received 1,698 complaints in India via its local grievance mechanism between April 26, 2022 and May 25, 2022.

Under the new IT Rules 2021, big digital and social media platforms, with more than 5 million users, have to publish monthly compliance reports.

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