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Twitter will comply with India’s new rules to keep its legal immunity

Twitter will comply with India’s new rules to keep its legal immunity


After the government said it would be held liable for users’ posts

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Twitter has outlined how it intends to “fully comply” with India’s new social media rules after the government said its lack of compliance meant it could be held legally liable for its user’s posts, Bloomberg reports. In response to the government’s filing, a lawyer for the company said it has already appointed an interim chief compliance officer and that it would soon have a grievance officer and an employee to respond to law enforcement requests, Reuters notes. Twitter is required to fill each of the roles under new regulations introduced this year. The company also said it would be setting up an India liaison office in the next eight weeks.

Had Twitter not pledged to comply with the rules, it faced being made legally liable for users’ posts on its platform, potentially allowing its executives to face criminal charges over user-generated content. Social media platforms often take down content in response to legal challenges, but they’re generally not considered liable for it in the first place.

The government could still take action if it doesn’t comply

If Twitter does not comply with the rules, the judge said India’s government will be able to take action against the company, Reuters reports. The company was given a deadline of two weeks to make the appointments. Other tech companies, including Facebook and Google, have reportedly already started appointing employees to the relevant positions in response to the regulations.

The legal action marked an escalation of the tensions between Twitter and the Indian government. In May, police raided Twitter’s India offices after the platform labeled a government official’s tweets as “manipulated media,” and more recently, a government minister warned the company of “unintended consequences” if it does not comply with the new rules. As the world’s largest market outside of China, India is not one that Twitter can afford to be excluded from, Bloomberg notes.

While the company said it will comply with the rules, it said it reserves the right to challenge their legality and validity, Reuters says.

Twitter is not the only large tech firm to clash with the Indian government over its new regulations. In May, WhatsApp sued the government over a requirement that it trace the origins of messages sent on its platform. The firm argued that this is unconstitutional, would force it to undermine its users’ privacy, and risks breaking the end-to-end encryption offered by its service.