Editorial: To be or not to be

Twitter is facing fresh heat from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for failing to adhere to norms while appointing executives in the roles of Resident Grievance Officer, Nodal Officer and Chief Compliance Officer.

This, according to the government, means that the protection under Section 79 of the Information Technology (IT) Act, accorded to Twitter for being a social media intermediary, now stands withdrawn.

Minister for Law & Justice, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad flogged Twitter for having deliberately chosen the path of non-compliance.

The contention is if someone puts out any content on Twitter that leads to some form of violence, or violates any Indian law with respect to content, not only the person that has put out the tweet will be held responsible, even Twitter will be legally liable for the content as it no longer has the protection.

There is an ongoing debate on whether Twitter has lost its intermediary status or the protection granted to intermediaries under the Indian law. Section 79 of the Information Technology Act grants certain protections to intermediaries on the condition that they fulfil certain obligations and due diligence mandated as per rules.

When these intermediaries do not comply with the court or government order, they become responsible for the content as the publisher, and may be criminally prosecuted along with the originator of the content.

 

NT Bureau