Twitter has pledged to “fully comply” with India’s new internet regulations, caving in a dispute with the government over rules that critics say curtail privacy and free speech.
The US social media platform appointed an interim chief compliance officer, will name a grievance officer by July 11 and set up an India office in eight weeks, a lawyer for the company told the Delhi High Court on Thursday. These are some of the requirements under Intermediary rules issued by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in February.
Facebook, WhatsApp, Google and others have already made the appointments and started generating user grievance reports, as required by the new rules.
Twitter, which was involved in a confrontation with Ravi Shankar Prasad, India's electronics and information technology minister, over the rules was holding out.
Mr Prasad resigned from the ministry this week and his successor, Wharton grad Ashwini Vaishnaw, was quoted by the Indian news agency PTI as saying those who live and work in India will have to obey the country’s laws.
Officials have demanded Facebook and Twitter take down hundreds of posts this year, divulge sensitive user information and submit to a regulatory regime that includes potential jail terms for executives if companies don’t comply.
While the government accuses social media companies of infringing on the nation’s digital sovereignty, tech companies say the rules violate users’ rights to privacy.
The administration’s push to exert more control over user data and online discourse reflects efforts globally to come to grips with tech companies and their enormous influence. The stakes in India are particularly high for internet firms because – shut out of China – it’s the only billion-people market up for grabs.