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Twitter loses liability protection for user-created posts in India after failing to delete content

In a ruling filed on Monday, the US microblogging site lost the immunity that prevents it from being held liable for content posted by its users. The decision was made on the premise that Twitter is not respecting India’s “law of the land.”

The decision comes after a complaint over defamatory tweets that were not removed in time. In accordance with India’s IT laws, social media sites are required to delete content that is deemed harmful or in breach of guidelines within 36 hours of a complaint being issued, and can face legal repercussions if this is not adhered to.

The role of a resident grievance officer – someone who deals with community complaints – has been vacant since June 21, and the content was not removed, violating the new IT laws. Justice Rekha Palli of Deli’s High Court slammed the social media platform on Tuesday for failing to find a replacement within the two-week period, asking “How long does your process take? If Twitter thinks it can take as long as it wants in our country, I’ll not allow that.”

At the end of June, Twitter came under fire from the Indian police, who shunned the platform for promoting child pornography. In response to these claims, the company maintained that it does not tolerate child pornography, and that “viewing, sharing, or linking to child sexual exploitation (CSE) material, regardless of the intent, contributes to the re-victimization of the depicted children and is prohibited on our service.”

Another event that soured relations between the South Asian country and Twitter arose after the social media platform showed the northern regions of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as a separate territory, contrary to claims that the contested regions are part of India. Twitter’s actions were deemed “an act of treason,” and the platform quickly removed the map.

The new IT laws in India were announced in February but came into force in late May. The legislation was implemented with the intention of regulating content on social media, such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.

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