Twitter appoints ‘grievance officer’ to comply with India’s new rules
Twitter has appointed two new executives in India in an attempt to comply with the country’s new information technology laws, a company lawyer told the Delhi High court at a Friday hearing. First reported by Bloomberg, one of the new executives is a chief compliance officer who will also serve as grievance officer, and the other is a nodal officer, both required by the country’s Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code which took effect in May.
Twitter made the appointments a week after the Indian government found the social media platform’s efforts to comply with the new rules were insufficient. Under the rules, social media companies are required to remove content within 36 hours of receiving a legal order. The country also requires such companies to have a grievance officer who acknowledges users’ complaints within 24 hours, a chief compliance officer, and a contact person who would be available to respond to law enforcement agencies 24 hours a day.
But on July 28th, a judge found that Twitter’s appointment of an employee through a third-party contractor to be the grievance and compliance officer was “unacceptable.” The rules require that officer to be a senior staff member.
The government had argued in a legal filing last month that Twitter had lost its legal immunity for failing to adhere to the new rules, making it legally liable for content posted by its users in India. In May, police raided Twitter’s India offices after the platform labeled a government official’s tweets as “manipulated media.” And in June, a government minister warned the platform there could be “unintended consequences” if it failed to comply with the new rules.
“We have taken significant steps towards compliance to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 and have kept the Indian Government closely informed of our progress,” a Twitter spokesperson in India wrote in an email to The Verge on Saturday. “We remain committed to safeguarding the voices and privacy of those using our service.”
According to Bloomberg, India’s government will now review whether the new appointments meet the rules, and will hear the case again on August 10th.