Twitter Interim Grievance Officer for India Quits Amid Row

Twitter appears to have now appointed California based Jeremy Kessel in his place.

3 min read
Twitter India’s interim grievance officer has stepped down amid an ongoing tussle between the social media platform and the government, reported PTI. 

Twitter India’s interim grievance officer Dharmendra Chatur has stepped down from the post, at a time when the company is embroiled in a tussle with the Indian government over the new IT rules, reported PTI citing sources.

As per the report, Chatur was recently appointed to the position.

The Quint could independently confirm the resignation of Chatur from the position of grievance redressal officer.

Twitter appears to have now appointed California-based Jeremy Kessel in his place.

Chatur’s name, as required under the new rules, was earlier displayed on the company’s website, but it is no longer there. Now, the website displays the contact information of Kessel instead.

The New IT Rules And More Details

The new IT rules, which came into effect on 25 May, make it mandatory for the company to have a grievance officer to address complaints from the users.

Under the new rules, all the social media companies with over 50 lakh users have to appoint a chief compliance officer, a nodal contact person and a grievance officer.

Earlier, the government had slammed Twitter for defying the rules and not complying with them. However, the company had said that it intends to comply with the rules and Chatur was appointed as the grievance officer.

Why Was Chatur's Appointment Problematic?

Twitter appointed Chatur, as an interim GRO on 31 May. However, this appointment was claimed to be in non-compliance with the IT Rules 2021.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology pointed out that the then GRO (Chatur) and Nodal Contact Person nominated by Twitter Inc were not employees of the platform and the office address of Twitter India was that of a law firm.

Interestingly, Twitter’s Grievance Officer (India page) now shows that the social media company has appointed Kessel as the GRO in India. It should be noted that this is still not in compliance with the new IT Rules 2021.

Twitter vs RS Prasad

On Friday, 25 June, Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad claimed that Twitter denied him access to his account for almost an hour.

Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the microblogging platform had lost its intermediary status and become liable under Indian laws, including the Indian Penal Code.

When the minister tried to log in to his account, Twitter showed a message saying, “Your account has been locked because Twitter received a compliant Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Notice for content posted to your Twitter account. Twitter maintains a repeat copyright infringer policy under repeat infringer accounts will be suspended. Accruing multiple DMCA strikes may lead to suspension of your account.”

Prasad, in a tweet, alleged that Twitter’s actions were in gross violation of Rule 4(8) of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 “where they failed to provide me any prior notice before denying me access to my own account”.

Meanwhile, Twitter in a statement, said: “We can confirm that the Honourable Minister’s account access was temporarily restricted due to a DMCA notice only and the referenced Tweet has been withheld. As per our copyright policy, we respond to valid copyright complaints sent to us by a copyright owner or their authorized representatives.”

(With inputs from PTI)

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