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India warns Twitter of consequences if it fails to follow new rules

India warns Twitter of consequences if it fails to follow new rules
FILE PHOTO - The Twitter logo is displayed on a screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York City, U.S., September 28, 2016. REUTERS-Brendan McDermid-File Photo

India’s government has told Twitter it could face “unintended consequences” if it fails to comply with the country’s new social media rules, Reuters reported. India’s technology minister wrote in a June 5th letter to Twitter that the company’s responses to previous government letters about the new rules did not confirm whether Twitter was in full compliance, according to Reuters.

Under India’s Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code, which took effect in May, social media companies could be subject to legal action if they fail to follow the code’s provisions, which are aimed at regulating the platforms’ content. The new rules call for platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp to remove content within 36 hours of receiving a legal order.

The rules also require the companies to have a grievance officer who acknowledges users’ complaints within 24 hours, a chief compliance officer, and a contact person who would be available to law enforcement agencies 24 hours a day.

The June 5th letter to Twitter said the company had not yet met the requirements for the new roles, Reuters reported, and could results in India holding Twitter legally liable for content on its platform. But the letter stated that “as gesture of goodwill, Twitter Inc is hereby given one last notice to immediately comply with the Rules.”

Twitter has tangled with the Indian government on several fronts in recent months. In April, the social platform removed tweets critical of the Indian government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and did so at the government’s request. And late last month, police in the Indian cities of Delhi and Gurgaon raided Twitter offices there as part of an investigation into why some tweets by government officials were labeled as “manipulated media” under Twitter’s policy. There were no employees in the offices at the time, as Twitter employees in India were working remotely.

Twitter declined to comment Saturday.

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