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Twitter Losing Immunity for Not Complying With IT Rules: Govt to HC

A loss of intermediary status makes Twitter liable for criminal action in case of complaints.

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The Centre on Monday, 5 July, told the Delhi High Court that Twitter has failed to comply with IT Rules 2021 as on Thursday, 1 July, leading to a loss of its immunity as an "intermediary".

According to IANS, in a short affidavit, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said: "IT Rules, 2021 are the law of the land and Respondent No. 2 (Twitter) is mandatorily required to comply with the same. Any non-compliance amounts to breach of the provisions of the IT Rules, thereby leading to Respondent No. 2 losing its immunity conferred under Section 79(1) of the IT Act, 2000."

The affidavit further said that the immunity conferred on intermediaries under Section 79(1) is a conditional immunity subject to the intermediary satisfying the conditions under Sections 79(2) and 79(3).

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"As provided in Rule 7, failure to observe the IT Rules, 2021 results in provisions of Section 79(1) of the IT Act, 2000 not being applicable to such an intermediary," added the affidavit, according to IANS.

According to the government, Twitter has failed to comply on four counts: a) No chief compliance officer has been appointed; b) The position of the resident grievance officer is vacant; c) The position of the nodal contact person (even on an interim basis) is vacant; d) The physical contact address, which was shown to be there on 29 May is not available on Twitter's website.

A loss of intermediary status makes Twitter liable for criminal action in case of complaints.

Will Name Interim Resident Grievance Officer Soon: Twitter to Delhi HC

On Saturday, 3 July, Twitter had submitted an affidavit before the Delhi High Court stating that it will soon be appointing an interim resident grievance officer, as mandated by the new Information Technology Rules.

In its affidavit, the social media giant informed the court that it is at the 'final stage' of finding the replacement for the person who withdrew his candidature last month.

In the interim, the grievances from India are being handled by personnel situated in the US, which amounts to non-compliance with the IT Rules 2021.

As per Rule 4 of the new IT Rules, significant social media intermediaries are required to appoint a chief compliance officer, a nodal officer, and a grievance officer — all whom are required to be residents of India.

(With inputs from IANS.)

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