17:56 GMT21 June 2021
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    The flip-flop by Twitter to unverify Indian Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu's social media handle, before it verified the account again, comes against the backdrop of the platform's reluctance to accept the new Information Technology guidelines of the Indian government, which came into force last month.

    Twitter on Saturday restored the verification badge on the personal account of Indian Vice President (VP) M Venkaiah Naidu hours after unverifying it.

    A Twitter spokerserson confirmed that the verification badge on Naidu's account has been "restored".

    According to the platform's verification rules, an account must be "authentic, active, and notable" in order to be verified. Government accounts are usually granted the verification badge by the American social media giant.

    The last tweet from Naidu's account was sent out in July of last year, nearly 316 days ago. Naidu has 1.3 million followers.

    The original decision to unverify Naidu has triggered outrage among many Indian users, with a leader from the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) describing it as an "assault on the Constitution".

    ​The U-turn by Twitter comes amid a raging controversy over the company's reluctance to accept the Indian government's new Information and Technology (IT) rules, which require all social media intermediaries with a base of over 5 million users to have a grievance, compliance, and nodal officer.

    At a court hearing this week seeking Twitter's position on the rules, the firm's lawyer argued that it has already appointed a new grievance officer. However, there was no clarity if the other two positions have been created yet.

    The Delhi High Court, hearing the case, has issued notices to both federal authorities and Twitter, asking them to present their respective positions at the next hearing on 6 July.

    Last week, Twitter accused the Indian government of trying to "intimidate" the social media giant, alluding to the visit by Delhi Police to its office to investigate the "Congress toolkit case", in which the main Indian opposition party, Congress, has been accused of "tarnishing the image" of the nation by calling the new mutation of the coronavirus the "India strain".

    The Indian government hit back at Twitter, accusing it of trying to dictate the nation's agenda.

    The purpose of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 (Intermediary Guidelines) is to increase the accountability of social media platforms and prevent their misuse, as per the federal Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY).

     

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