Twitter appoints grievance officer
The new guidelines, which were rolled out in February and that demanded extra due diligence from social media intermediaries such as Facebook and Twitter, have been at the centre of a debate recently.
Twitter has appointed a resident grievance officer, days after designating a chief compliance officer, as it also released its first transparency report with regard to the new IT rules on Sunday, a day when new minister for electronics and information technology Ashwini Vaishnaw held a review meeting to discuss the social media and intermediary guidelines.
The new guidelines, which were rolled out in February and that demanded extra due diligence from social media intermediaries such as Facebook and Twitter, have been at the centre of a debate recently. The rules also brought digital news media outlets, including websites of traditional news media platforms, and over-the-top content providers such as Netflix and Amazon, under the new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
“Reviewed the implementation and compliance of Information Technology Rules, 2021 along with my colleague Shri Rajeev Chandrasekhar Ji. These guidelines are empowering and protecting users and will ensure a safer and responsible social media ecosystem in India,” Vaishnaw posted on Koo, the domestic alternative to Twitter. Chandrashekar is minister of state for MeitY.
The new minister was briefed about the status of the compliance of each firm, an official familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity. The move to bring in the new rules saw pushback from many stakeholders, with eight different legal challenges being lodged in various high courts. Though some intermediaries complied with the guidelines, the government has been locked in an escalating conflict with Twitter.
The US social media company’s website has listed Vinay Prakash as the new grievance officer, providing contact details and procedure for users to report potential violations of its rules and terms.
Twitter previously appointed Dharmendra Chatur as its interim grievance officer for India after the new IT rules came into force. However, Chatur stepped down within weeks of taking over. California-based Jeremy Kessel was named as India’s grievance redressal officer, on the platform’s website – although the appointment did not meet the requirements of IT rules that mandate key officers – grievance officer, chief compliance officer and nodal officer – to be resident in India.
Twitter’s website on Sunday showed Vinay Prakash as the resident grievance officer (RGO). Users can contact him using an email ID listed on the page. “Twitter can be contacted in India at the following address: 4th Floor, The Estate, 121 Dickenson Road, Bangalore 560 042,” the page said.
Prakash’s name appears along with Kessel, who is the Global Legal Policy Director, and is based in the US. Twitter did not share additional details of the new resident grievance officer.
The company previously informed the Delhi high court that it made new interim appointments and sought eight weeks to make permanent ones.
A ministry official said Vaishnaw was apprised on the status of compliance of each social media firm, as significant social media intermediaries, which have five million users or above, have to appoint a grievance redressal officer, a nodal contact person and a compliance officer. While most of the prominent social media firms such as Google, WhatsApp and Facebook have made the key appointment, whether or not Twitter is fully compliant is unclear. The official declined to comment on the status of Twitter’s compliance with the new guidelines. “The issue of Twitter was discussed, as was every other social media firm,” the official said, asking not to be named.
The social media company also published its first grievance redressal report, saying that it actioned 133 posts for reasons ranging from harassment to privacy infringement, and suspended over 18,000 accounts for “child sexual exploitation and non-consensual nudity”.