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Twitter appoints ex Bytedance exec to liaison with Indian law enforcement


Twitter has appointed Shahin Komath, a former Bytedance employee, as its permanent nodal contact person, a key requirement under the new IT Rules which was yet unfulfilled by the company, said two sources directly aware of the development. 

On Friday, during a case on the company’s non-compliance with the IT Rules, the microblogging platform told the Delhi High Court that it has made permanent appointments to the positions of chief compliance, nodal and grievance officers. 

However, the names of these appointments apart from the grievance officer were not made public.

Under the IT Rules, significant social media intermediaries such as Twitter, which have more than 5 million Indian users, are required to appoint a nodal officer who is supposed to communicate with law enforcement and offer 24×7 coordination for investigative purposes. 

Komath has prior experience of interfacing with law enforcement agencies in India as he was the nodal and grievance officer at Bytedance, responsible for handling law enforcement requests from South East Asia, the sources told Entrackr.

He has also worked as the grievance officer for the now banned Helo short video app. 

A Twitter spokesperson declined to comment. 

However, it is worth mentioning that companies are not required to make public the names of their chief compliance and nodal officers.

Vinay Prakash, who the company had appointed as its grievance officer in July, will also serve as the company’s chief compliance officer. His status is also permanent now, instead of being termed an ‘interim’ appointment.

All the three appointments were made permanent on August 4.

A compliance officer is responsible for the overall compliance of a significant social media intermediary whereas a grievance officer is expected to address user complaints within a stipulated time. 

One thing to note is that while Twitter has made these appointments, the Delhi High Court, where Twitter is currently contesting a case over non compliance with the IT Rules, and the Indian government could very well take an objection to these appointments. 

If that happens—on August 10, the next date of hearing—then Twitter will have to make appointments as per directions of the court. 

Twitter and the Indian government have been at loggerheads since the IT Rules came into effect on May 26. The government had openly criticised the social media juggernaut over its non-compliance with the rules, saying that no company was above the law of the land. 

Twitter had on several occasions conceded at the Delhi High Court that it was indeed non-compliant with the rules, something that it claimed it was in the process of correcting. 

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