Twitter loses legal shield in India

Social media microblogging giant, Twitter has lost its legal protection in India because of the failure to comply with new rules from prosecution over users’ posts, the government sources said today.

A  case was filed in Uttar Pradesh against the social media platform over a content that shows an attack over an elderly muslim man, the police said attempted to inflame communal distress.

Twitter has not yet complied with all the provisions of the rules that came into force on May 25, sources in the Ministry of Electronics and IT said. “Due to their non-compliance their protection as an intermediary is gone. Twitter is liable for penal actions against any Indian law just as any publisher is,” the sources said.

The first case holding Twitter responsible for third party content was filed last night in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad, in connection with an alleged assault on an elderly Muslim man on June 5.  Twitter has been accused in a First Information Report (FIR) of not removing “misleading” content linked to the incident.

The elderly man, Sufi Abdul Samad, had alleged that his beard was cut off and he was forced to chant “Vande Matram” and “Jai Shri Ram” by a group that assaulted him.

The UP police said that he was lying, it was a case of amulets that the man Sufi had sold to the people for prosperity, but the men seen in the viral video were upset over the amulets and attacked him.

It was not a communal incident as implied in tweets; the man was attacked by six men, the police said.

The police FIR charges Twitter and several journalists for inciting “communal sentiments” with posts sharing the man’s allegations.

“Since they do not enjoy any protection and they did not flag this video as manipulated media, they are liable for penal action,” government sources said.