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Current Affairs

Loss of safe harbour for Twitter

Date: 18 June 2021 Tags: IT, Mobile & Computers

Issue

The Ministry of Electronics and IT has been putting pressure on Twitter for failing to comply with the rules during appointment of Chief Compliance Officer, Resident Grievance Officer and Nodal Officer.

 

Details

  • The action will ensure that protection offered to Twitter under Section 79 of the Information Technology Act gets withdrawn. It will no longer be considered a social media intermediary.

  • The section 79 of the act says that the social media intermediary will not be liable for data, information or communication link hosted on their platform.

  • The protection would have been made available if the intermediary does not modify contents, select receiver or start a transmission.

  • The platform should just be an intermediary who will transport messages from point A to point B without indulging in changes. This will make it safe from legal prosecution.

 

The issue expressed by the government

The government says that Twitter has intentionally failed to comply with new guidelines and has been indulged in cherry-picking issues that it would want to portray as manipulative.

 

Impact on Twitter

  • The removal of protection makes twitter vulnerable to prosecution for its publications. It will be made directly liable.

  • Suppose if any individual posts any tweets that can trigger unrest, authorities can not only charge the individual but also Twitter.

 

Way ahead

  • In future, if Twitter fails to comply with rules, the government may invoke the cap of 26 percent under FDI for media and publishing.

  • Twitter India may have to look for an Indian buyer to sell its remaining 74 percent stakes and exit its majority control.