The government has issued a notice to Twitter to comply with all its past orders by July 4, an official source said on Wednesday.
The Ministry of Electronics and IT has set a deadline of July 4, failing which Twitter may lose intermediary status, which means it will be liable for all the comments posted on its platform.
“A notice was issued on June 27 to Twitter to comply with all government orders issued till date. Twitter was issued notices earlier this month but it did not comply with them. This is the final notice,” the government source told PTI.
An email query sent to Twitter elicited no response.
Twitter has been at loggerheads with the government on several occasions.
On June 26, the microblogging site submitted a list of over 80 Twitter accounts and tweets that it has blocked based on a request from the government in 2021.
The request from the government was to block multiple accounts and some tweets from the international advocacy group Freedom House, journalists, politicians and supporters of the farmers’ protest.
The government source, however, said that there are several other orders, with which Twitter is yet to comply and they have been given a final deadline of July 4 for compliance.
Twitter has received over 17,000 requests from the government between January 2012 – June 2021 for taking down Twitter accounts and tweets, out of which it has complied with only 12.2 per cent of requests. It has withheld around 1,600 accounts, and 3,800 tweets and action was taken on 6,300 items under Twitter’s term of service.
The government has sent most of the requests under section 69A of the IT Act.
Under the Act, the centre or its authorised officer can seek to block access to information in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence.
As per the last update filed by Twitter, the government requested to block tweets of Freedom House carrying a report around the freedom score of India, which declined to 67 in 2021 from 77 in 2017 and its status changed to a partly free country in 2021 from a free country in 2017.
The government has now proposed an amendment in the new IT rules for social media platforms, under which it will set up an appellate grievances redressal panel which will have the power to overrule decisions taken by the company’s grievance cell in line with the law of the country.