Twitter loses its legal protection in India: What it could mean for the platform and brands
Twitter has now lost its ‘intermediary’ status in IndiaUnsplash
Will Twitter’s legal indemnity impact brands in India?
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Twitter loses its legal protection in India: What it could mean for the platform and brands

Will Twitter’s legal indemnity impact brands in India?
  • Yesterday, Twitter lost its legal indemnity in India for failing to fully comply with new IT rules that came into force on May 25.
  • We speak to digital experts to understand how this decision could impact the platform and brands in India.
The global microblogging platform Twitter lost its legal protection in India on June 16 over its failure to comply with the government’s new IT rules.

Twitter has now lost its ‘intermediary’ status in India, which gave it immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by the platform. The Jack Dorsey-owned platform will be held accountable for every single ‘objectionable’ tweet under the Information Technology Act, 2000 and the country’s penal laws. With this, Twitter has become the first US-based social media platform to lose legal protection in India.

According to India’s Electronics and Information Technology Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad’s statement on Twitter, the platform ‘chose the path of deliberate defiance when it comes to the Intermediary Guidelines.’


Prasad also blamed Twitter for being biased and selectively labelling some content as manipulated media and ignoring others. “Further, what is perplexing is that Twitter fails to address the grievances of users by refusing to set up process as mandated by the law of the land. Additionally, it chooses a policy of flagging manipulates media, only when it suits, its likes and dislikes,” he wrote in a Twitter thread.

We reached out to digital experts from the advertising industry to understand the implications of this development, to understand what it means for Twitter and brands in India.

Here’s what they had to say:

Akshay Gurnani, Co-founder & CEO, Schbang:
Twitter loses its legal protection in India: What it could mean for the platform and brands

With Twitter losing its intermediary status and hence its legal immunity, they will be made liable for all the content published on the platform. This will put quite a lot of pressure on the entity considering that Twitter has always been a place for unfiltered and sometimes controversial content. This will also put the ball back in the court of brands to think about whether they want to continue maintaining their presence on the platform or not. I'm certain Twitter will comply with the outlined regulations since India is one of their biggest markets, but until then, brands and advertisers will need to be a bit cautious.

Manesh Swamy, Vice President - Creative & Social, Logicserve Digital:
Twitter loses its legal protection in India: What it could mean for the platform and brands

Twitter has been active in the social space for a very long time. It has been a primary way for people around the globe to put across views, opinions, thoughts, broadcasts, and more. Now, with Twitter losing its safe harbour protection, this will eliminate the platform’s legal immunity. In my opinion, popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn have their specific personality and target audience. In the case of Twitter, it’s known for its authenticity, niche audience, and wide reach. After the microblogging platform losing its indemnity, brands on the platform might find it hard to comply and will have to bring it certain guidelines when putting out content. But ultimately the decision has been made by the Indian government therefore, brands should bring in alternatives to stay on top of the game.

Sahil Chopra, Founder & CEO- iCubesWire:
Twitter loses its legal protection in India: What it could mean for the platform and brands

“Twitter, including other social media giants, were extremely helpful in helping and connecting people during the second wave of Covid-19, which was appreciated globally. However, following India’s laws and regulations are paramount for any company. With so much fake news being spread through social media platforms, it is important to keep a tab on offensive content specially where religious sentiments can be hurt or fake news is spread on COVID vaccination. We are hopeful the Indian govt. and Twitter can work things out soon to ensure Indian laws and rules are followed.”

Ambika Sharma, Founder and MD, Pulp Strategy:
Twitter loses its legal protection in India: What it could mean for the platform and brands

Twitter losing its intermediary status will impact their business, it means that they can now be least responsible for anything posted on the platform not following the law of the land. If this loss of status stands Twitter is up for difficult times.

The loss of safe harbor will create unrest, it will be harder to appoint senior positions especially as the responsibility comes on the senior India execs, brands will be more cautious to start with. On the other hand Twitter being a preferred medium for political commentary the escalation may just be around the corner. however until this escalates into an incident current advertising plans may not be impacted much, if the loss of safety continues brands will take a conservative approach and shy away from engagement of twitter, the spillover from heightened sentiments due to any incident may not be worth it.

Siddharth Devnani, Co-Founder & Director, SoCheers:
Twitter loses its legal protection in India: What it could mean for the platform and brands

For brands, businesses, agencies and advertisers, this will not change anything for now. Amongst other legal challenges, Twitter will also need to think of its own brand perception. Brands will continue to leverage the platform as long as its user base continues to be highly engaged as it is today. The change which has happened has to do with responsibility of Twitter for any problematic content posted on the platform. Hence it's not likely that it will directly impact brands or their campaign spends. The deals will remain intact as long as there is no backlash or additional rulings coming their way.