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Twitter is now obeying India’s new internet rules, government tells court

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After appointing key employees

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Twitter is now complying with the Indian government’s new internet rules, a lawyer representing the federal government has told a court in Delhi, Bloomberg reports. The social media company has now appointed a permanent employee to serve as both chief compliance officer and grievance officer, as well as a nodal officer — three roles required under the new legislation announced in February. Twitter said it appointed the executives earlier this month.

Although rivals Google and Facebook have reportedly been in compliance since May, Twitter has found itself in a tense standoff with the Indian government over the legislation. In June, the government warned Twitter of “unintended consequences” if it failed to obey the new rules, and the following month it argued that the social media network had lost its legal immunity for its users’ posts because of its non-compliance. Later that month, Delhi’s high court took issue with Twitter’s attempt to fill two of the legally required positions through a third-party contractor.

The Indian government has also been unhappy with Twitter’s moderation policies. In May, police in India raided the social media company’s offices after it labelled a tweet from a government official as “manipulated media.” However, Twitter has been complying with other moderation requests from the government. It suspended over 500 accounts and reduced the visibility of some hashtags in February, some with links to the farmers’ protests, in response to legal threats, and has also censored tweets critical of India’s handling of the pandemic.

While Twitter is now obeying the rules, Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging service has sued the Indian government over parts of the legislation. It objects to a requirement that it trace the origin of messages on its platform, arguing that this is unconstitutional, and will “severely undermine the privacy” of its users.