Twitter loses legal shield in India for 3rd-party content

Twitter has lost its legal protection in India from prosecution over users’ posts because of its failure to comply with new rules requiring it to appoint key officers based in the country, government sources said today as a case was filed in Uttar Pradesh against the social media giant over Tweets on an assault that the police say attempted to incite communal trouble.

Top officials of Twitter can now face police questioning and criminal liability under IPC over ‘unlawful’ and ‘inflammatory’ content posted on the platform by any user. Twitter and other social media giants were supposed to comply with the rules by May 25, but that deadline was postponed citing the coronavirus lockdown and other challenges in complying with the provisions. Now, Twitter is the only American platform that has not complied with the rules and others such as YouTube, Facebook, and WhatsApp continue to enjoy legal protection, according to government sources. Twitter’s diminished legal status in India was highlighted last night as the company was named in a police case in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. The case is related to an alleged assault on an elderly Muslim man on June 5, pictures and videos of which had gone viral on Twitter. The company has been accused of not removing “misleading” content linked to that incident.

Meanwhile, a Twitter spokesperson said the company “continues to make every effort” to comply with the new guidelines and is keeping the IT Ministry apprised of progress at every step of the process.