Twitter says in final stages of appointing resident grievance officer

Social media giant Twitter, on Saturday, told the Delhi High Court that the company was in the final stages of appointing a resident grievance officer, after the interim resident grievance officer withdrew his candidature on June 21.

Twitter has been engaged in a slugfest with the Centre, the latter accusing the company of non-compliance with India’s new rules for digital media intermediaries. The rules require significant social media intermediaries, i.e. those with over 5 million users in the country, to appoint employees for the posts of resident grievance officer, chief compliance officer nodal person of contact for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Twitter had appointed its Global Legal Policy Director Jeremy Kessel as the grievance officer for India. The rules however require an Indian resident to be appointed to the post.

Twitter said in “substantial compliance” with Rule 3(2) Rule 4(1)(c) of the new IT Rules, it did appoint an interim resident grievance officer.

However, even before steps could be taken to completely formalise the arrangement, the interim resident grievance officer withdrew his candidature on June 21, it said denied that it has not complied with the intermediary guidelines.

Twitter said that “before steps could be taken to completely formalise the agreement, the interim resident grievance officer withdrew his candidature on 21.06.2021. Therefore, the answering respondent (Twitter) is in the final stages of appointing a replacement while in the meanwhile the grievances of Indian users are being addressed by the grievance officer”.

“Further, the answering respondent is in the final stages of appointing an interim chief compliance officer,” it told the high court in its affidavit.

Before this, in May, the company had appointed Dharmendra Chatur, partner at a law firm that represented Twitter, as the interim officer for the role. But the Centre had said it could not accept the appointment of outsiders to statutory posts. Chatur soon resigned from the post.

Meanwhile, Twitter’s India Managing Director Manish Maheshwari is also facing trouble, as the social media giant was found short of compliance with the new IT Rules. Maheshwari has been named as an ‘accused’ in several police complaints that have been registered against Twitter.

The complaints pertain to the video of an assault of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad, the sharing of a wrong map of India on Twitter. In the first case, the police has alleged that certain journalists, Twitter Maheshwari, gave the assault a communal colour by sharing it on Twitter. In the second case, Twitter Maheshwari have been booked because a map of India that was shared on the platform, incorrectly marked India’s borders.

IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has hinted that because of Twitter’s non-compliance with the new IT Rules, the company would now be liable for ‘illegal’ content shared on its platform.

Meanwhile, both Twitter Facebook have told the Parliamentary Committee on Information Technology, their intention to comply with the new Rules.

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