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Comply With Orders By July 4 or Lose Intermediary Status: India Govt Notice To Twitter

NEW DELHI: The Indian government has issued a notice to social media giant Twitter to comply with the country’s past orders on regulating content on the platform by July 4, according to reports on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has set a deadline of July 4, failing which Twitter may lose intermediary status, which means it will be liable for all the comments posted on its platform.

“A notice was issued on June 27 to Twitter to comply with all government orders issued till date. Twitter was issued notices earlier this month but it did not comply with it. This is the final notice,” a media report quoted a government source as saying.

Twitter, which is yet to respond to the notice, has had run-in with the government in the past multiple times.

According to the report, on June 26, Twitter had submitted a list of over 80 accounts and tweets that it had blocked based on a request from the Indian government in 2021.

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The request from the Indian government was to block multiple accounts and some tweets from international advocacy group Freedom House, journalists, politicians and supporters of the farmers’ protest, the report claimed.

According to the report, there are several other orders with which Twitter is yet to comply and they have been given a final deadline of July 4 for compliance.

There have been several episodes in the past in which Twitter has been used by miscreants to circulate inflammatory posts like hate content which have triggered violence and extreme reactions.

One such episode had taken place after a Muslim man was assaulted and his beard chopped off by a Hindu mob comprising youngsters in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad, adjoining Delhi, in 2021.

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A police investigation in the case also named senior Twitter India officials as accused in the case even as the government had strictly asked the social media platform to conform to the country’s norms on operation.

What Does India’s IT Act 2020 Say on This:

  • Twitter, like other social media platforms, gets intermediary status under the Section 79 of the Information Technology Act 2020.
  • An intermediary will be exempted from liability for any third-party information, data or communication link made available or hosted by it.
  • It will be exempted if the function of the intermediary is “limited to providing access to a communication system over which information made available by third parties is transmitted or temporarily stored or hosted”.
  • The exemption is provided if the intermediary does not initiate the transmission, select the receiver of the transmission and select or modify the information.

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