Saturday, October 16, 2021
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Twitter toes Turkey’s lines, shows willingness to follow new Indian social media norms

Showing clear signs of retracting from its previous rigid stance, microblogging digital platform, Twitter has announced to establish a legal entity in Turkey to continue its operations under the country’s new internet law.

The move assumes significance as the social media platform is at loggers head over similar norms in India. In the first sign of softening its stance, Twitter has sent a clear message to review its policy in India and work in sync with the new government legislation for social media platforms.

Social media companies across the globe are facing similar legislations from the key markets they operate in. India has even banned many Chinese digital platforms for violating Indian norms. Recently the Australian government has also pressed stringent norms for the global search engine, Google and has slapped a fee on Facebook for use of local content.

Twitter’s announcement to establish a legal entity in Turkey is a clear signal that the company is preparing to ramp up its operations by putting in place new grievance mechanisms for its Indian users as well. The Indian government last month via notification has given the social media entities three months time to comply with the new norms.

While under the new Turkey law, social media firms that have more than one million users must store the users’ data in the country, in India Twitter will have to ‘sanitised for meaningful conversations and remove bad accounts.

The Union government last month announced new stringent guidelines for social media platforms along with a code of ethics for over-the-top (OTT) platforms and digital media. According to Union Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, social media platforms will be classified under two categories — social media intermediaries and significant social media intermediaries — with the latter being subject to greater obligations.

The new Intermediary Liability Rules ask social media companies with over 5 million users in India to not only enable traceability of end-to-end encrypted messages but also establish local offices with senior officials to deal with law enforcement and user grievances.

“We have decided to establish a legal entity,” Twitter said in a statement adding, “We will continue to work to protect the public conversation in Turkey, empowering people to have access to that conversation, and advocating for our values.”

Meanwhile, Twitter in reference to Turkey said that the company is “committed to protecting and defending the Open Internet, and as part of this work, have called for the establishment of regional and global standards for online services.”

“We believe that global and not fragmented frameworks protect online communities and their rights and ensure they can experience the Internet in the same way across the world,” the Jack Dorsey-run company noted.

In India, the company will have to comply with The Indian Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, which mandates the intermediaries, including social media intermediaries to establish a grievance redressal mechanism for receiving resolving complaints from the users or victims.

Intermediaries will also have to appoint a Grievance Officer to deal with such complaints and share the name and contact details of such an officer.

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