Google, Facebook, Telegram, LinkedIn and Tiger Global-backed Indian startups ShareChat and Koo have either fully or partially complied with the South Asian nation’s new IT rules, according to two people familiar with the matter and a government note obtained by TechCrunch.
India’s new IT rules, unveiled in February this year, require firms to appoint and share contact details of representatives tasked with compliance, nodal point of reference and grievance redressals to address on-ground concerns.
The aforementioned firms have complied with this requirement, the government note and a person familiar with the matter said. The firms were required to comply with the new IT rules by this week.
Twitter has yet to comply with the rules. “Twitter sent a communication late last night, sharing details of a lawyer working in a law firm in India as their Nodal Contact Person and Grievance Officer,” a note prepared by New Delhi said, adding that the rules require the aforementioned officials to be direct employees.
Tension has been brewing between Twitter and the government of India of late. This week, police in Delhi visited Twitter offices to “serve a notice” about an investigation into its intel on classifying Indian politicians’ tweets as misleading. Twitter called the move a form of intimidation, cited concerns about its employees and requested the government to respect citizens’ rights to free speech.
WhatsApp has complied with the aforementioned rules, but not with the requirement about traceability, a person familiar with the matter told TechCrunch. WhatsApp sued the Indian government earlier this week over the requirement about bringing a way to trace the originator of messages. WhatsApp said it would have to compromise every users’ privacy to be able to comply with this rule.
It is unclear at this point whether Apple, which operates iMessage, and Signal have complied with the rules.
India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on Wednesday had asked the social media firms for an update on their compliant status, TechCrunch first reported.
India is a key overseas market for several technology giants, including Facebook and Google, both of which identify the nation as its biggest market by users. Neighboring nation Pakistan, which had proposed similar rules as India last year, had to withdraw them after tech giants united and threatened to leave the nation.