Union Information and technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said that Twitter failed to comply with new IT rules and it deliberately chose the path of non-compliance despite getting multiple opportunities.
Twitter lost legal indemnity in India after it failed to comply with new IT rules which required it to appoint key officers in India. The microblogging platform was also booked along with journalists and two Congress leaders in connection with an incident where a Muslim man was allegedly assaulted.
Confirming the development, the Union IT & law minister on Wednesday said there have been queries as to whether Twitter is entitled to safe harbour provision. “The simple fact of the matter is that Twitter has failed to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines that came into effect from the 26th of May,” the Union minister said.
“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 on the 26th of May. Further, it was given multiple opportunities to comply with the same, however, it has deliberately chosen the path of non-compliance,” Prasad said.
“The culture of India varies like its large geography. 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. It is astounding that Twitter which portrays itself as the flag bearer of free speech, chooses the path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the Intermediary Guidelines,” the Union minister wrote.
On the UP incident, Prasad said it was illustrative of Twitter’s arbitrariness in fighting fake news. “While Twitter has been over-enthusiastic about its fact-checking mechanism, its failure to act in multiple cases like UP is perplexing and indicates its inconsistency in fighting misinformation,” Prasad said.
Reiterating that the law is above all, the Union minister said, “Indian companies be it pharma, IT or others that go to do business in the USA or in other foreign countries, 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?”