Following Nigeria ban, India ask Twitter to comply or face ‘unintended consequences’

Twitter might have underestimated the influence of Nigeria’s ban on its operations as India has now told the company it has one last chance to comply with the county’s IT rules, or face ‘unintended consequences’ according to a copy of an official letter seen by Reuters.

Last week, Twitter got into trouble with the Nigerian government after the company deleted one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s post from its platform.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed announced that the country has suspended Twitter’s operations indefinitely, and a day later, internet service providers were ordered to restrict access to Twitter’s domain.

Now India might be planning to follow Nigeria’s example, the country told Twitter to follow its IT rules, or face “unintended consequences”

The new rules – which were announced in February and which became effective at the end of last month – are aimed at regulating content on social media and making firms such as Facebook, its WhatsApp messenger and Twitter more accountable to legal requests.

They also require big social media companies to set up grievance redressal mechanisms and appoint new executives to coordinate with law enforcement.

India’s technology ministry wrote to Twitter on May 26 and May 28 on the new rules, but the company’s responses “neither address the clarifications sought by this ministry nor indicate full compliance with the Rules,” said the June 5 letter from the technology ministry to Twitter deputy general counsel Jim Baker.

The letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, said that among other things, Twitter had yet to inform the ministry about its chief compliance officer, and its grievance officer and nodal contact person were not employees as mandated by rules.

It said such non-compliance would lead to “unintended consequences” including the possibility that Twitter could be held accountable for content posted on it, an exemption it currently largely enjoys.

It added, “However, as gesture of goodwill, Twitter Inc is hereby given one last notice to immediately comply with the Rules.”

Just like in Nigeria, activists have accused the Indian government of trying to gag social media after users took to the platform to organize huge farmer’s protests earlier this year. Many tweeps have also criticized Prime Minister Modi’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic on the platform.

Nigeria is estimated to have up to 40 million registered users on Twitter.


A writer! Columnist and an academic researcher
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