Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw Sunday said the new information technology rules would give social media users more power.
“Reviewed the implementation and compliance of the 2021 Information Technology Rules with my colleague Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar ji,” Vaishnaw said on the social media platform Koo. “These guidelines empower and protect users and will ensure a more secure and responsible social media ecosystem in India. “
This was the first post from the Union’s Information Technology Minister on the Koo social media platform, a Twitter doppelganger developed by a Bengaluru-based startup.
New IT rules are a broad set of regulations – announced in February and entered into force in May – framed to regulate social media companies, streaming and digital news content, putting them virtually, for the first time, under government control.
Under the new rules, social media platforms with more than 50 lakhs of users must also appoint compliance officers to ensure the rules are followed, nodal agents to coordinate with the forces of the order. All staff must be based in India.
Vaishnaw’s statement came amid the Centre’s standoff with Twitter over the new rules. The central government and Vaishnaw’s predecessor in the ministry, Ravi Shankar Prasad, have repeatedly criticized Twitter for failing to comply with the new regulations.
On July 5, the government told the Delhi High Court that Twitter had lost its “Safe Harbor immunity“because of that. This means that Twitter will be deprived of the protection social media sites enjoy from legal action for illegal content posted by users if the court accepts the Center’s submission.
A day later, the Delhi High Court dismissed the company for failing to appoint a grievance officer. “If Twitter thinks it can take as long as it wants in our country, I won’t allow it,” Judge Rekha Palli said.
However, later in the week, the social media platform said it had appointed a resident grievance officer for India, in line with new information technology rules. Twitter also posted its compliance report for the period of May 26, 2021 to June 25, 2021. This is another key requirement under the new guidelines.
The feud between the American company and Indian authorities escalated after police filed four complaints against Twitter in less than a month. Former Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Twitter was deliberately defying the law.