Just weeks after the new IT rules in India came into effect, Twitter has run into trouble with the local authorities. Not only was it announced that Twitter will lose its status as a social media intermediary due to failure to show compliance, the company also faced its first lawsuit regarding a video of an elderly man being beaten in UP. However, today, Karnataka High Court provide some much needed relief, adjudging that Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari will not face legal action, adding that police cannot take coercive action against him.
The MD had offered to get his statement recorded through video conferencing-a request which was denied by the authorities. Now, the top state court has instructed that if the police wants to examine the MD, it can do so in virtual mode.
A few days ago, a video surfaced on Twitter that showed an elderly man being beaten by a group of young men, who then made him chant “Jai Shree Ram.” However, the authorities claim that there was no communal angle to the story, and this thrashing was due to the young men being unhappy about an amulet that the old man sold to them.
Since Twitter lost its status as a social media intermediary just a few days ago, this led to a case being filed against the company in Ghaziabad.
However, according to news agency ANI, the MD’s counsel argued that he was an employee of the organization, and was not liable for the content on the platform.
This appeal reiterates how social media companies used to work before the new IT rules, but it seems to have worked, since Maheshwari now has interim relief in the case.
Thus, it looks like that even though the IT rules stand to make employees liable for the content posted on these social media channels, the court doesn’t share the same vision.
This also happens to be the first case against a social media company in India thanks to the new IT rules, and we might see more cases of this kind in the future.