Last month Twitter sought eight weeks to make these appointments
New Delhi: Twitter on Friday told the Delhi High Court that it has appointed, on permanent basis, a Chief Compliance Officer, a Resident Grievance Officer and a Nodal Contact Person, and that it is now in compliance with the new IT rules.
Senior advocate Sajan Poovayya, representing the social media giant, said the appointments had been made on August 4, and said that an affidavit had been filed following an earlier court order.
Asked by the court if Twitter is now, in fact, in compliance with the law, Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, representing the government, said: “Seemingly so. But we have to verify.”
The government and Twitter have been on opposite ends of a bitter row over the past weeks and months, with the company’s compliance with the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules (2021) at the heart of the dispute.
Under this law Twitter – as a significant social media intermediary – has to appoint two full-time, India-based employees as compliance and grievance officers, and a third as a contact person.
All three must also be Indian citizens.
Twitter’s delay in hiring had drawn the ire of the government and the court; as recently as last week it was slammed for making “continent” appointments through a third-party contractor.
In an earlier affidavit the company had said it had hired a Vinay Prakash – as an interim Compliance and Grievance Officer – while it works on making permanent hires in line with the IT rules.
“(Twitter)… is categorical… that he is not an employee. This itself is in the teeth of the rule. There has to be some seriousness about the rule. Some sanctity has to be given,” the court had said.
“What is this contingent worker? I have a problem with the word. Contingent… then third-party contractor! What is this? I am not happy with the affidavit,” Justice Rekha Palli had told Twitter.
Mr Sharma then also reminded the court the Compliance Officer had to be a full-time employee of Twitter, and that the company was in “abject non-compliance of the rules”.
Twitter – which said “usage of term contingent worker was on account of structure of employment” – was then given a week’s time to clarify the appointments and file a new affidavit.
Last month Twitter sought eight weeks from the High Court to make these appointments; that was after another interim hire, Dharmendra Chatur, resigned as the stop-gap grievance officer.
Mr Chatur’s resignation was followed by Twitter appointing of Global Legal Policy Director Jeremy Kessel, but that was struck down because Mr Kessel is not an Indian citizen.
As a result of the extended delay in completing hires to the satisfaction of the government, Twitter had lost legal protection and immunity for user-generated content.