Twitter's grievance officer quits within weeks amid row with Centre
Twitter's interim grievance officer has reportedly resigned, causing more trouble for the microblogging platform that has been at odds with the Indian government. The government's new IT Rules mandate that Twitter should appoint a resident grievance officer. Non-compliance with this and other conditions under the rules has led to Twitter losing its legal protection against user-generated content. Here are more details.
Twitter removes Chatur's name from website
According to reports, Dharmendra Chatur has stepped down as the interim resident grievance officer of Twitter for India. Chatur is a partner designate at Bengaluru-based law firm Poovayya & Co., which represented Twitter at the Delhi High Court. Twitter's website does not display Chatur's name anymore. Instead, California-based Jeremy Kessel, the Global Legal Policy Director of Twitter, is listed as the grievance officer.
What do the IT Rules say?
The Indian government had announced the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 in February. The rules require social media platforms to set up a three-tier grievance redressal framework and appoint a chief compliance officer, a nodal contact person, and a resident grievance officer in India. They are also required to remove content within 36 hours of a legal order.
Twitter's non-compliance has miffed authorities
Social media platforms had to comply with the rules by May 25, however, Twitter's non-compliance has miffed authorities. On June 5, the Centre issued "one last notice" asking Twitter to "immediately" comply with the IT Rules. Twitter informed the Delhi HC on May 31 that it appointed Chatur as its grievance officer. The firm has also assured compliance with the rules in the past.
Twitter at odds with ruling BJP
Twitter has been at odds with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre for several months. In February, Twitter had refused to remove tweets supporting the farmers' protest, as directed. It had also flagged content shared by BJP politicians as "manipulated media."
Police in BJP-ruled UP summoned Twitter's India chief in case
A case in Uttar Pradesh over a viral video that allegedly incited religious discord named Twitter and the company's India chief Manish Maheshwari was summoned for failing to stop the video's spread. UP is under BJP's rule. This was perhaps the first time that a social media company was held accountable for user-generated content in any democratic country.
Twitter has lost legal cover in India
Previously, Twitter had also said that it follows its own policies. A Parliamentary panel told the company that the law of the land is supreme. Failure to ensure compliance has reportedly led to Twitter losing its legal protection against content posted by its users.