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News Highlights

  • Twitter's statement is an attempt to dictate its terms to the world's largest democracy. Through its actions and deliberate defiance, Twitter seeks to undermine India's legal system.

  • Twitter refuses to comply with those very regulations in the Intermediary Guidelines on the basis of which it is claiming a safe harbour protection from any criminal liability in India.

New York: India on Saturday slammed a notice to billionaire Jack Dorsey's Twitter, giving the microblogging platform one last chance to "immediately" comply with her new information technology rules which came into effect from May 26, 2021.

A furious Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) warned Twitter that failure to adhere to the norms will lead the platform to lose exemption from liability under the Information Technology Act.

Such loss of exemption will expose Team Dorsey, including Dorsey himself, to multiple headaches under the IT Act, 2000, as well as other penal provisions of the land.

In the past, Dorsey had refused to present himself before a Parliamentary panel of 31 MPs citing short notice.

MeitY on Saturday saw Team Dorsey's refusal to comply with the rules demonstrating the microblogging site's "lack of commitment and efforts towards providing a safe experience for the people of India on its platform".

The notice, however, did not give a specific deadline to comply with the rules. The Delhi High Court has already backed MeitY's case.

Dorsey's nonchalance before governments is well known.

This was evident when the platform claimed to be a defender of free speech. India returned the volley with indignation: "Protecting free speech in India is not the prerogative of only a private, for-profit, foreign entity like Twitter, but it is the commitment of the world's largest democracy and its robust institutions.

"Twitter's statement is an attempt to dictate its terms to the world's largest democracy. Through its actions and deliberate defiance, Twitter seeks to undermine India's legal system. Furthermore, Twitter refuses to comply with those very regulations in the Intermediary Guidelines on the basis of which it is claiming a safe harbour protection from any criminal liability in India."

It didn't go unnoticed that this statement was also posted on Koo, the India-based competitor to Twitter.

Speaking to this reporter on what if there indeed are some unintended consequences on Dorsey's Twitter, Koo founder Aprameya Radhakrishna assured that the homegrown platform has spent the last three months "majorly" building up its resources for a potential traffic surge.

"We have a strong new investor on board and have raised $30 million. We have strengthened our engineering and product teams overall. We have made some very localised product features like 'Talk to Type' and 'Multilingual Kooing' live on the app. Our system is now ready to handle much more scale than before and we are also ready with a plan to handle any sudden surge in traffic," Radhakrishna told IANS.

Since the fracas came out in public, Radhakrishna has invited Twitter influencers to his platform in person. This includes those impatient with Twitter for not getting the ‘blue tick' verified sign.

Amid battling complaints on customer interface, Radhakrishna has already tweeted that "it makes complete sense for Koo India to adapt to local laws no matter which country we launch in the future. Given our Indian culture and upbringing, can't even imagine Koo India defying compliance in another country!"

As per Statista, India has upwards of 17.5 million Twitter users, which makes it the third biggest market for Dorsey in the world after the US and Japan. As on date, Koo counts "more than 6.5 mn downloads".

At 68.8 million Twitter followers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has the second highest number of followers among all the political leaders on the planet after former US President Barack Obama.

The ‘NM' handle is the 12th highest followed on the platform overall and has more follows than even Twitter and 12x of Jack Dorsey's. Dorsey was granted a coveted meeting with Modi during a drop-by to Delhi in November 2018.

Meanwhile, on Friday, a peeved Nigeria blanked out Twitter, following the platform's decision to take down President Muhammadu Buhari's tweet. The ban was imposed because of "the persistent use of the platform for activities... capable of undermining Nigeria's corporate existence," Abuja said in a statement.
 

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