#ITRules: Twitter ends tussle with Centre; appoints Resident Grievance Officer
After much delay, Twitter named Vinay Prakash as its Resident Grievance Officer in compliance with the central government's new IT Rules. The microblogging platform also published a monthly "transparency report" citing complaints from users in India and how it handled them. Notably, Twitter has been engaged in a months-long tussle with the Indian government over the new IT Rules among other issues.
According to information available on Twitter's website, users can now contact Prakash to address their grievances through 'grievance-officer-in @ twitter.com'. The website also lists Twitter's Bangalore address. The contact details of Jeremy Kessel—a San Francisco-based senior director of Global Legal Policy at Twitter—also remain published on the website. Earlier, Twitter had appointed Dharmendra Chatur as the interim grievance officer, however, he resigned.
Fulfilling Article 4(d) of India's Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, Twitter also published a transparency report on how it managed user complaints dated May 26, 2021-June 25, 2021. Twitter acted against 38 URLs for six complaints of abuse/harassment and processed 56 grievances, the report said. It received three complaints on impersonation/privacy infringement and four on adult content.
Twitter's move comes days after the Delhi High Court refused to allow any interim protection to the social media platform. The court allowed the government to take any action against Twitter's non-compliance with the new IT Rules. It also observed that Twitter is liable to be held in contempt of court for its failure to clarify that Chatur was an interim grievance officer.
Twitter had earlier sought eight week's time to appoint a Resident Grievance Officer, Nodal Officer, and Compliance Officer in compliance with the IT Rules. It had said it had appointed an interim compliance officer and was in the process of appointing an interim grievance officer.
The IT Rules—announced in February—require social media platforms to set up a three-tier grievance redressal framework and appoint a Chief Compliance Officer, a Nodal Contact Officer, and a Resident Grievance Officer in India. They are also required to remove content within 36 hours of a legal order. Social media platforms also need to publish monthly reports regarding complaints from Indian users.
Tensions between Twitter and the Centre started to mount as Twitter delayed its compliance to the government's IT Rules, which came into effect on May 26. Due to its non-compliance, Twitter lost its legal protection against user-generated content. 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."