The Modi government has given Twitter “one last notice” to comply with its new social media rules, which came into effect on May 26.
Failure to comply will lead to “unintended consequences, including Twitter losing exemption from liability as intermediary available under Section 79 of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000”, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said in a letter to the microblogging site on Saturday.
The letter noted that Twitter had not informed the government about the details of the chief compliance officer, as required under the rules. “Further, resident grievance officer and nodal contact person nominated by you is not an employee of Twitter Inc in India… The office address of Twitter Inc as mentioned by you is that of a law firm in India, which is also not as per the rules,” the ministry said.
“As a gesture of goodwill,” the letter said, “Twitter Inc is hereby given one last notice to immediately comply with the rules, failing which the exemption from liability available under Section 79 of the IT Act, 2000 shall stand withdrawn and Twitter shall be liable for consequences as per the IT Act and other penal laws of India.”
The move came on a day when a new controversy erupted following Twitter’s brief removal of the ‘blue tick’ verification from the personal account of Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu.
It signalled a further deterioration of ties between the government and Twitter. In February India asked Twitter to block content alleging the Modi administration was trying to silence criticism related to farmer protests in the country.
Last month, Twitter labelled as “manipulated media” posts by BJP leaders targeting the Congress, which drew a sharp response from the government.
Following police visits to Twitter offices in Delhi and Gurugram, Twitter flagged concerns about freedom of expression and the safety of its staff in India.