Social Media

Twitter not to appoint India head

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on August 22, 2021

Sources say the company will be managed by regional executives based in Japan

At a time when the government is seeking more local accountability from social media companies, Twitter may not appoint an India head after moving Manish Maheshwari to the US as Senior Director for revenue strategy and operations.

According to sources, the company will be managed by regional executives based in Japan along with existing business heads in charge of different verticals in India.

Sources close to the company said that this was being done to insulate the India business leadership team against any potential action by law enforcement agencies under the new IT rules.

Maheshwari, as the Managing Director of Twitter India, was questioned by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell in connection with its probe into the ‘Covid toolkit’ case.

He was questioned about the company’s policy on flagging tweets as ‘manipulated media’, according to multiple sources.

In June, he was summoned by Uttar Pradesh police for questioning over tweets on the assault of an elderly Muslim man in Ghaziabad.

“Instead of focusing on growing the market, heads of social media companies like Twitter are having to worry about police summons and court appearances. The IT rules have made it difficult for CEOs to operate so by not appointing a country head, Twitter could be protecting its India staff,” said an industry source.

Non-compliance?

Another expert said that the timing of Maheshwari’s move to the US raises questions over Twitter’s intent on complying with the IT rules. “One of the key purposes of bringing the IT rules was to make foreign tech companies comply with Indian laws without passing the buck to their parent entities in the US. If Twitter does not appoint an India head, then the question remains; where does the buck stop when it comes to enforcing Indian rules,” said a cyber security expert.

But sources close to the company said that Twitter has appointed a resident grievance officer and a chief compliance officer, as per the new IT rules. Appointing a CEO is not mandatory under Indian laws, they said.

Published on August 22, 2021

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