Home / News / India /  Twitter blocks Ravi Shankar Prasad's handle over violation of copyright norms; unblocks later

Twitter banned personal account of Union IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad over violation of copyright laws. The account was later reinstated, the minister informed.

"Twitter denied access to my account for almost an hour on the alleged ground that there was a violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of the USA and subsequently they allowed me to access the account," Prasad tweeted.

"Twitter's actions were in gross violation of Rule 4 (8) of Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, where they failed to provide me any prior notice before denying me access to my own account," he added.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) can be invoked by copyright users to flag use of their content online without their consent.

While it is not clear as to which posts by Prasad were flagged or removed under DMCA, the Union IT Minister mentioned that clips of his interview with news channels posted on Twitter "and its powerful impact, have clearly ruffled its feathers".

"Furthermore, in the past several years, no television channel or any anchor has made any complaints about copyright infringements with regard to these news clips of my interviews shared on social media," Prasad added in a series of tweets.

"No matter what any platform does they will have to abide by the new IT Rules fully and there shall be no compromise on that," the Law and IT Minister further asserted.

Twitter and the Indian government have been at loggerheads over the new IT intermediary guidelines.

Under the new IT rules, significant social media intermediaries with over 50 lakh users have to appoint a grievance officer, a nodal officer and a chief compliance officer who have to be residents in India.

As per the these rules, social media companies are required to take down flagged content within 36 hours and remove within 24 hours content that is flagged for issues such as nudity and pornography.

Earlier this month, central government had given Twitter one last chance to comply with the new rules and had sternly reminded that failure to adhere to the norms will lead to the platform losing exemption from liability under the IT Act.

Meanwhile, experts from the United Nations have said that India’s new IT rules do not conform with international human rights norms. In a communication to Indian government dated June 11, three special rapporteurs from the UN expressed "serious concerns" with certain parts of the legislation, and said that "due diligence obligations" placed on intermediaries may lead to "infringement of a wide range of human rights".

In response, India India's permanent mission at the United Nations has clarified that India's new IT rules are "designed to empower ordinary users of social media". These rules were finalised after broad consultations with civil society and other stakeholders in 2018, India told the UN.

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