Delhi Police Visits Twitter India Office; New Guidelines To Kick In For Social Media Platforms Tomorrow

As per reports, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are yet to comply with the new guidelines

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On the evening of May 24, Delhi Police special cell visited the Twitter India’s office after serving notice to the microblogging site for marking BJP leader Sambit Patra’s tweet on “Congress Toolkit” as manipulated media.

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The police said they went to Twitter India's offices in South Delhi and at Gurgaon to hand the notice in person after the company's replies were "ambiguous". Delhi Police further explained that they wanted to ascertain who the right person to serve notice as Twitter India Managing Director has been “ambiguous”. Interestingly, the offices of Twitter India were shut as Delhi stepped into its fifth week of the lockdown in the backdrop of the second wave of the pandemic. 

While netizens on Twitter seemed divided on the latest happenings, it can’t be overlooked that the visit happened a day before new guidelines by the government came in place.

The government of India in February this year, seemingly after the growing indifference with Twitter post the violence on the Republic Day caused during the farmers' protests.

The government then as per the “Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code Rules, 2021”, has social media platforms to appoint a chief compliance officer who shall be responsible for ensuring compliance with the Act and Rules and a nodal contact person for 24x7 coordination with law enforcement agencies and a resident grievance officer who shall perform the functions mentioned under grievance redressal mechanism. Grievance officer shall acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours and resolve it within 15 days from its receipt.

Back then the government has said that social media platforms in India will have to comply with these guidelines from May 26. However, as per various media reports, social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have not complied on many accounts till date. With some yet to appoint such resident grievance officers, a chief compliance officer and a nodal officer.

Reports suggest that if social media companies fail to comply with the guidelines then they might lose their status and protection as intermediaries and might even face criminal action. Some experts even fear that social media those not following the guidelines may end up getting banned by the government. The only social media app that has followed the guidelines before the deadline is over, is Koo, an Indian social media platform that was launched to compete against Twitter, earlier this year. The app rose to popularity when Twitter and Centre were in a tussle.