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India-Twitter Crisis: Interim Grievance Officer Resigns

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Twitter’s interim resident grievance officer in India, Dharmendra Chatur has resigned from his post.

Under the new Information Technology (IT) rules, it is necessary to appoint a Grievance Officer in major social media companies to deal with the complaints of Indian users. A source said that Dharmendra Chatur, the interim grievance officer recently appointed by Twitter in India, has resigned from the post. Chatur was appointed recently.

Chatur’s name is no longer visible on the social media company’s website. Under the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Code of Conduct) Rules, 2021, social media platforms are required to give the name and contact address of the said officer on their website.

Twitter declined to comment on the developments. Chatur’s resignation comes at a time when tensions are growing between the government and Twitter over new digital media rules. The government has accused and criticized Twitter for deliberately not following these new rules.

New rules of IT apply
The new rules came into effect on May 25. Twitter has lost its right to exempt arbitral digital forums in India through the ‘Provision for Protection’ of not appointing the required officers even after the expiry of the additional time. Under the new rules, major social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp will be required to take additional measures. This includes the appointment of Chief Compliance Officer, Nodal Officer and Grievance Officer in India etc.

Twitter replied to the government
Twitter, in response to the final notice issued by the government on June 5, had said it will comply with the new rules and would soon share the details of the appointment of the chief compliance officer. Meanwhile, it had appointed Chatur as interim Grievance Officer for India. Now instead of the name of the Grievance  Officer for India on the Twitter website, a correspondence address and an e-mail address have been given in the US.

Legal action possible
According to government officials, Twitter has lost the legal protection the mediator had received due to non-compliance with the new rules and now legal action can be taken against it by holding him accountable for any content on the platform.