TWITTER LOSSES LEGAL PROTECTION DUE TO NON-COMPLIANCE OF NEW IT Law

The government informed that due to non-compliance of the new IT Rules, Twitter in India has lost the legal protection, therefore will be liable of any unauthorized content use on it’s platform. The loss of such protection may lead to Twitter being prosecuted for content posted by any user on the platform under relevant section of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860.This new battle between the government and social media platforms came into force when new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules were notified by the government, which were needed to be done for enjoyment of the legal protection within the three months of the notification or on before 25 May 2021.

However, twitter has expressed its view at the time when new rules were formed last month that such actions are a potential threat to the freedom of expression. When twitter did not do anything for compliance,the government earlier this month had given twitter a stern “LAST NOTICE” to fall in line.Union IT Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad stated that Twitter had deliberately chosen not to comply with the new IT Rules which are required to be complied by the intermediary according to the guidelines given on 25th February, thus it was justified that legal protection of twitter was taken away. Further, stated that despite the fact that Twitter was given multiple chances to comply with the new IT rules, it did not take any actions.In addition, the Minister emphasized on the sensitive nature of India as a country, where any statement even a small spark put on such a social media platform can cause a fire referring to the incident happened in UP, which is one of the reasons why the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules were formed and notified. While justifying the government action, the minister further stated, “It is astounding that twitter, which portrays itself as the flag bearer of free speech, chooses the path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the Intermediary Guidelines”.

Therefore, Twitter does not have an intermediary status in India due to non-compliance of the New Information Technology Rules from May 26 2021. The result of the new development is that any charges against the blogging site for alleged unlawful content it will not be an intermediary but treated as a publisher and will be held liable under any Law, including IT Act, or any penal laws in India.

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