Twitter names grievance officer, files user report

NEW DELHI: Twitter has appointed a local grievance officer for India, besides filing a monthly compliance report on censure of objectionable and unlawful content, in an indication that the American micro-blogging giant is falling in line with the new IT Rules mandated by the government.
Vinay Prakash was on Sunday named as the key officer meant to address user grievances. He would sit out of the company’s local office in Bangalore and work alongside Twitter’s global officer Jeremy Kessel, who is based out of San Francisco.
The move comes days after the Delhi high court refused interim protection to Twitter and allowed the Centre to act against it for any violation of the new IT Rules. Twitter was also asked to regularise the appointment of designated officers within two weeks.
Twitter’s ‘India Transparency Report’ was filed for the period May 26-June 25 this year and the company said it has removed 133 URLs over various content complaints, including abuse and harassment (38 URLs), defamation (87), impersonation (1), misinformation/synthetic and manipulated media (1), and privacy infringement (6).
However, it did not take any action on complaints around “sensitive adult content”, despite receiving four grievances.
“In addition to the above data, we processed 56 grievances which were appealing Twitter account suspensions. These were all resolved, and the appropriate responses were sent. We overturned seven of the account suspensions based on the specifics of the situation, but the other accounts remain suspended,” it said, without giving specific details.
The company, which faced a spate of FIRs recently, including one related to posts around child pornographic material, reported pro-active monitoring data around “child sexual exploitation, non-consensual nudity, and similar content”, though this was not India-specific data but global numbers (the period was not mentioned). It said 18,385 accounts were suspended on the subject. Globally, it also suspended 4,179 accounts for “promotion of terrorism”.
On the controversial issue of appointment of statutory officers (such as nodal officer and chief compliance officer) in line with the new IT Rules, it has already told the courts that steps have been initiated.
The company had previously appointed lawyer Dharmendra Chatur as the local grievance officer, but he quit the position as soon as regulatory troubles mounted for the social media platform and a number of FIRs were filed against its top management over carriage of “objectionable and illegal” content.
Twitter’s turn to come around on India’s new IT Rules coincides with the change of guard in the Central government’s ministerial portfolios that saw Ashwini Vaishnaw replace Ravi Shankar Prasad.
The new minister had said in his opening comments that companies working in India, including Twitter, have to follow the law of the land.

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