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  • MaryGrace Lerin

Twitter Has Appointed a Grievance Officer

Twitter has assigned a resident grievance officer, just days after naming a chief compliance officer, and has also released its first transparency report regarding the new IT rules on Sunday, the same day that new minister for electronics and information technology Ashwini Vaishnaw held a review meeting to discuss the social media and intermediary guidelines.

The new regulations, which went into effect in February and required further due diligence from social media intermediaries like Facebook and Twitter, have recently been the subject of discussion.

The new Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 also included digital news media outlets, along with websites of traditional news media platforms and over-the-top content providers such as Netflix and Amazon.

“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 made a post on Koo, a domestic version of Twitter. Chandrashekar is MeitY's minister of state.

According to an official familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the new minister was briefed on the status of each firm's compliance. Many stakeholders objected to the new rules being implemented, and eight different legal challenges were filed in various high courts. Despite the fact that some intermediaries followed the guidelines, the government has been embroiled in an escalating conflict with Twitter.

The website of the US social media company has listed Vinay Prakash as the new grievance officer, with contact information and a procedure for users to report potential violations of its rules and terms.

After the new IT rules went into effect, Twitter appointed Dharmendra Chatur as its interim grievance officer for India. Chatur, on the other hand, resigned just a few weeks after taking over. On the platform's website, California-based Jeremy Kessel was named India's grievance redressal officer – despite the fact that the appointment did not meet the requirements of IT rules that require key officers – grievance officer, chief compliance officer, and nodal officer – to be resident in India.

Vinay Prakash was listed as the resident grievance officer on Twitter's website on Sunday (RGO). Users can contact him via the email address listed on the page. “Twitter can be reached in India at the following address: 4th Floor, The Estate, 121 Dickenson Road, Bangalore 560 042,” according to the page.

Prakash's name appears alongside Kessel, the Global Legal Policy Director based in the United States. Twitter did not provide any additional information about the new resident grievance officer.

The company previously informed the Delhi High Court that it had made new interim appointments and requested an extension of eight weeks to make permanent ones.

As per a ministry official, Vaishnaw was kept up to date on the status of each social media firm's compliance, as significant social media intermediaries with five million users or more are required to appoint a grievance redressal officer, a nodal contact person, and a compliance officer. While the majority of the major social media companies, including Google, WhatsApp, and Facebook, have made the key appointment, it is unclear whether Twitter is fully compliant. The official refused to comment on Twitter's compliance with the new guidelines. “The issue of Twitter was discussed, as was the issue of every other social media firm,” the official said, declining to be identified.

The social media company also released its first grievance redressal report, stating that it removed 133 posts for reasons ranging from harassment to invasion of privacy, and suspended over 18,000 accounts for "child sexual exploitation and non-consensual nudity."

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