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Twitter Appoints Resident Grievance Officer; Releases Transparency Report


Twitter, which is engaged in a bitter fight with the Indian government over the new IT rules, has now appointed Vinay Prakash as the Resident Grievance Officer. The micro-blogging site which reportedly lost the liability protection on user-generated content has also released its first India Transparency Report to meet the new IT rules.

The company’s website provides contact details and procedure for users to report potential violations of its rules and terms. The social media platform in its Help Center section mentioned, “Grievance Officer contact information for users in India: Resident Grievance Officer, Vinay Prakash, grievance-officer-in @, Twitter, Inc.”

Twitter has locked horns with the Indian government over the recently passed IT Rules rolled out in February this year that made it mandatory for the social media platforms to have compliance officers residing in India so that the concerns can be addressed quickly. It also brought digital news media outlets, including websites of traditional news media platforms, and over-the-top content (OTT) providers such as Netflix and Amazon, under its purview.

Their most arduous requirement is that social media platforms appoint a grievance officer to tackle potentially hundreds of thousands of ‘complaints’ about content on their site, catalog them and inform the government about how they have been resolved.

The US-based social media firm has been accused of abusing its position for long and acting against the laws that have angered the Indian government multiple times.

While other tech companies like Facebook and Google had already complied with the new IT rule, Twitter had opposed the same, stating that it inhibits free and open public conversation.

While the deadline for complying with the new rules was May 26, 2021, Twitter released a statement expressing concerns about its employees in India – and the potential threat to freedom of expression – in the aftermath of the use of “intimidation tactics” by the police ever since it added a ‘manipulated media’ tag to tweets by senior ruling party leaders.

Despite multiple warnings and notices, Twitter had failed to comply with the new IT rules. As a result, it lost its legal protection as an intermediary in India. Several cases have been filed against the company in different states over the content posted on the platform.

The micro-blogging site has also published its first compliance report, which is mandatory under the new IT rules.

In its compliance report, titled “India Transparency Report”, Twitter has provided data on the different categories of complaints from users and action taken on them as well as provided information on its proactive monitoring efforts. Between May 26, 2021 and June 25, 2021, Twitter received a total of 38 complaints, which resulted in action against 133 URLs. Of these, the largest number of complaints pertained to defamation(20), followed by abuse or harassment (6) and sensitive adult content (4).

Twitter also processed 56 grievances appealing for suspension of user accounts, of which seven were overturned and remaining suspended. The social media giant has also said that proactive monitoring of user content led to suspension of 18,385 accounts for child sexual exploitation and 4,179 accounts for terrorism related activities globally, it said.

Last week, Twitter informed Delhi High Court that it will need eight weeks to appoint chief compliance officer. Twitter had previously appointed Dharmendra Chatur as its interim resident grievance officer for India as required by the IT rules, who stepped down last month.

The new development should help reduce the tension between Twitter and the Indian government. It is also expected to appoint a nodal officer soon.

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