Twitter has appointed a resident complaints officer in India days after the American social media company reportedly lost liability cover for user-generated content in the South Asian nation for failing to comply with local IT rules.
On Sunday, Twitter identified Vinay Prakash as his new resident complaints officer and shared an opportunity to contact him under the new Indian IT rules, which were unveiled this February and which went into effect in late May. Twitter also released a compliance report, another requirement listed in the new rules.
Earlier this week, the Indian government told a local court that Twitter had lost liability coverage for user-generated content in the country because it failed to appoint compliance, complaint and so-called node contact officers to address concerns on the ground.
Other internet giants like Facebook, Google and Telegram have already appointed these local compliance officers in India.
Internet services enjoy a protection commonly known as a “safe haven”, which states that technology platforms are not held responsible for the things their users post or share online. For example, if you insult someone on Twitter, the company may be asked to remove your post (if the person who insulted you went to court and a removal order was issued), but it is unlikely to be held legally responsible for it what you said or did.
Without the protection, Twitter – which according to mobile insight company App Annie has over 100 million users in India – is responsible on paper for everything those users say on its platform. Indian police have already filed at least five lawsuits against the company or its officials in the country over a range of issues.
The new development should help to reduce the tension between Twitter and the Indian government. A special squad of the Delhi Police made a surprise visit to two of the Twitter offices at the end of May, which was seen by many as a tactic of intimidation. Twitter said at the time it was “concerned about recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve,” and urged the Indian government to give it three additional months to see the new ones Comply with IT rules.
Earlier this week, Twitter told an Indian court that it was working to “fully comply” with the new rules.
Other countries are formulating similar requirements for technology giants in their countries. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law requiring foreign social media giants to open offices in Russia. Any social company with a daily user base of 500,000 or more people must comply with the new law.