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Microblogging site Twitter has lost “safe harbour immunity” in India for not complying with the newly enacted social media rules, Centre informed the Delhi High Court in a short affidavit on Monday.
“IT Rules, 2021 are the law of the land and Respondent No. 2 (Twitter) is mandatorily required to comply with the same. Any non-compliance amounts to breach of the provisions of the IT Rules, thereby leading to Respondent No. 2 losing its immunity conferred under Section 79(1) of the IT Act, 2000.” the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology told the Court, according to IANS. It added that the social media websites were given a “sufficient period of three months” for complying with the rules, which came into effect on May 26.
Twitter will be stripped of the protection social media websites have against legal proceedings for unlawful content posted by users if the court accepts the Centre’s submission.
The “immunity” or safe harbour is the protection provided to intermediaries like Twitter, Google, Facebook, against legal proceedings for unlawful content posted by users. On May 31, the High Court issued a notice to the social media giant giving it three weeks to reply, and set the matter for further hearing on July 6.
Centre filed the affidavit in response to a petition by social media user Amit Acharya who had alleged that he found certain “defamatory and false” posts on the platform. He said, that when he tried to file a complaint, he could not find the resident grievance redressal officer’s details on Twitter’s website.
Twitter on Saturday informed the Court that it was in the final stages of appointing a new resident grievance officer.