Twitter Inc disobeyed and failed to comply with India’s new IT standards, which went into force in late May, according to India’s Technology Minister on Tuesday.
The new rules, known as the Intermediary Guidelines, were announced in February with the goal of regulating content on social media platforms such as Facebook, its WhatsApp messenger, and Twitter, as well as making them more accountable to legal requests for prompt removal of posts and sharing information on message originators.
Big social media companies must also set up grievance redress processes and designate new leaders to collaborate with law enforcement, according to the laws.
India’s technology ministry wrote to Twitter on June 5, warning the company of “unintended consequences” if it did not obey the rules, Reuters previously reported.
On Tuesday, Prasad did not directly say whether Twitter had lost intermediary protections, but a senior government official told Reuters that due to its failure to comply with new IT rules, Twitter may no longer be eligible to seek liability exemptions as an intermediary or host of user content in India.
“A number of questions have arisen as to whether Twitter is eligible to the safe harbor guarantee,” Prasad wrote on Twitter. “However, the simple fact of the case is that Twitter has violated the Intermediary Guidelines, which went into effect on May 26th.”
Twitter, Prasad added, had chosen the “path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the Intermediary Guidelines.”
Twitter did not respond to a request for comment though it said on Monday it was keeping India’s technology ministry apprised of the steps it was taking.
“An interim Chief Compliance Officer has been hired,” it added, adding that “information will be provided with the Ministry directly soon.” “Twitter is continuing to work hard to adhere to the new criteria.
The Internet Freedom Foundation, a New Delhi-based digital advocacy group, said it was up to the courts, not the government, to decide whether businesses like Twitter remained intermediaries for alleged non-compliance such as executive appointments.
Growing tensions between India’s government and big tech in the United States have enraged companies that have spent millions of dollars to construct hubs in their fastest-growing market, prompting some to reconsider their development plans, people told Reuters previously.