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‘For Operating In India Twitter Must Be Cognisant To Indian Laws,’ Says IT Minister

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Wednesday that while Twitter used a US copyright act to restrict his account, it should equally be aware of the laws in India where it operates and earns money. The minister told the India Global Forum that Twitter had disabled his account for an hour last week because of a complaint filed four years ago under the US’s Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

“If you are going to invoke the digital copyright act of America then you have to also be cognisant of the copyright rules of India. That is the point. You cannot say my whole stand will be regulated by an ex-parte assessment of the US law. For a happy blending of the role of big tech and democracy, a solution has to be found,” Prasad said.

He stated that social media corporations are free to operate in India, but they must adhere to Indian rules. Twitter has been at odds with the government on a number of occasions, including during the farmers’ protest in January and later when it labelled political posts by many leaders of the ruling party BJP as “manipulated media,” prompting a harsh reprimand from the Centre.

Twitter is yet to comply with the new IT regulations that apply to social media organisations. The guidelines require social media businesses to set up a grievance redressal procedure to handle user or victim concerns. All major social media companies with a user base of more than 50 lakh would be required to hire a chief compliance officer, a nodal contact person, and a grievance officer.

All of them must be Indian citizens. Prasad went on to say that the issue with social media in India is the misuse of victims’ rights on those platforms, as well as the corporations’ accountability.

“If democracy has to survive misinformation, fake news, colluded material…all these are challenges. I am not in favour of censoring but democracies have to find a common ground as far as these issues are concerned so that these big tech companies do their business, earn good money, good profit but become accountable. This can only happen if you follow law of the land,” Prasad said.

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