More Trouble For Twitter As Company Loses Liability Protection In India

Amidst its indefinite suspension in Nigeria, Twitter has lost its liability protection against all user-generated content in India, according to the country’s government.

In a court filing this week in India’s capital New Delhi, it was revealed that Twitter had lost its immunity in India after it failed to comply with new local IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) rules, which were announced in February and implemented in May.

Internet services usually enjoy a kind of protection that absolves them of any responsibility for what their users share or post online. They may be asked to take down the post, but they would not be held legally responsible.

This development, however, leaves Twitter executives vulnerable to criminal charges over offensive or disagreeable content posted to the platform by its users.

“All social media platforms are welcome to do business in India. They can criticize Ravi Shankar Prasad, my Prime Minister or anyone. The issue is of misuse of social media. Some of them say we are bound by American laws. You operate in India, make good money, but you will take the position that you’ll be governed by American laws. This is plainly not acceptable,” India’s IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a conference last week,” said India’s IT Minister, Ravi Shankar.

WhatsApp as well has not completely complied with the new IT rules. The IT rules also mandate operators of encrypted messaging apps to introduce a way for the law enforcement to be able to “trace” the originator of objectionable messages.

THE WHISTLER reported how WhatsApp, which has more than 500 million users in India, sued the Indian government in May over this requirement, saying that making “traceability” possible would violate citizens’ constitutional right to privacy.

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