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As Govt Increases Compliance Pressure On Twitter, Its Interim Grievance Officer Quits

As Govt Increases Compliance Pressure On Twitter, Its Interim Grievance Officer Quits

Dharmendra Chatur’s name had been removed as resident grievance officer for India from the platform’s website

The government had flagged his appointment as he was not on Twitter’s payroll

The platform reportedly lost its intermediary status as a significant social media publisher on June 15th

Even as social media platform Twitter stays at odds with the government, its interim resident grievance officer Dharmendra Chatur quit his post less than a month after appointment. This development has once again left the platform without any executive in the role, according to reports.

Chatur’s name had been removed as resident grievance officer for India from the platform’s website. Chatur’s appointment had been flagged by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) as being non-compliant with the norms of the IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules of 2021, since he was not on the payroll of the company. Twitter had previously requested the government for a three month extension to comply with these new IT rules. 

In a letter sent to the IT Ministry on June 6, Twitter had said that it had appointed a nodal contact person and a resident grievance officer on a contractual basis and was working to recruit people in these positions on a permanent basis. It had then also said that it was in the final stages of appointing a chief compliance officer and would be sharing the details with the ministry soon.

Guidelines issued in February required all significant social media intermediaries to designate executives for these roles by May 26. Apart from them, OTT video streaming and digital publishers are also expected to comply with the new IT laws which includes appointing a chief compliance officer . 

Non-compliance with the new law means that any platform will no longer hold the intermediary status, and hence those companies can be tried under various legal provisions of the IT Act. 

Last week, the Karnataka High Court granted interim relief to Twitter India managing director Manish Maheshwari in a case filed by the Uttar Pradesh Police, regarding a series of Tweets that suggested communal violence against an elderly man being assaulted in Ghaziabad. 

Twitter has reportedly lost its intermediary status already. On June 16, multiple news outlets quoted unnamed government sources who said that “Twitter cannot seek safe harbour under the new Information Technology Act. In any case filed after May 26, Twitter cannot say it is an intermediary and claim exception”.