Wednesday, August 10, 2022

#TwitterWar: Centre acts against Twitter; what next for social media giant legally?

Twitter’s failure to comply with all provisions of the new IT rules that had come into effect from May 26 has put it into deep trouble. Due to their non-compliance, their protection as an intermediary is gone and it’s no more eligible to get safe harbor protection, absence of which exposes it to become liable for fake news, harassment and defamation on its platform. Twitter can now face liability for violating any Indian law just as any publisher as per sources.

Twitter has refused to comment on it when reached out. On June 15, Tuesday late night, the Uttar Pradesh Police invoked the same in an FIR lodged under offences IPC sections 153, 153A, 295A, 505, 120-B and 34 against Twitter Inc. and Twitter Communications India PVT for not taking down content regarding the assault on an elderly Muslim man in Loni, Ghaziabad.

The tweets and content imply that the Muslim man was being attacked for communal reasons while the police investigation found it was a personal dispute and people from both communities were involved in the assault. The police FIR charged Twitter along with many journalists and Congress leaders for intentionally provoking “communal sentiments” by sharing and re-tweeting the Loni incident posts.

The police also claim that they had shared a press release on the night of June 14 on Twitter giving details and debunking the communal angle but despite the clarification, Twitter has been accused of not removing “misleading” content linked to the incident even after 24 hours later. “Twitter’s behaviour in this incident is a departure from their move earlier to label certain tweets as ‘Manipulated Media’,” an official said.

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