Micro-blogging site Twitter on Monday appointed California-based Jeremy Kessel as its Indian Grievance Officer.
The appointment comes after Twitter’s former GO Dharmendra Chatur handed in his resignation, only days after accepting the position while the platform carries on its tussle with the Indian government.
Although Chatur was of Indian-origin, Kessel is an American. His reported appointment as Twitter India’s GO flies in the face of the government's orders which clearly state that the GO must be from India so he or she has the best understanding of the matters and the people involved.
At the moment it is unclear whether Kessel is intended as a permanent appointment or whether he is an acting GO until Twitter is able to find someone else homegrown. Twitter has not released a statement on its decision but it has updated its site.
Twitter's Interim Grievance Officer Dharmendra Chatur quits. Twitter's new Grievance Officer is listed as Jeremy Kessel who is the Global Legal Policy Director of Twitter.— 7Annihilator🇮🇳 (@7Annihilator) June 28, 2021
He is based out of California (which is against the IT Rules, as the Grievance officer has to be in India). pic.twitter.com/wCZqnYgZNC
Twitter, which is used by more than 17.5 million Indians, has had a rough couple of weeks in India - because it would not comply with India’s IT rules, it lost its legal protection in the country last week.
The one controversial IT rule that has worried networking apps is that the government has told them to hand over to the security services - if requested to do so - the identity of anyone who has posted profane content to assist in investigations.
Twitter has also been named in a police complaint in Ghaziabad city for allegedly having helped to fuel Hindu-Muslim unrest.
A video showing an elderly Muslim man being assaulted went viral on the app as a result of which the platform is now facing investigation.
To add to its worries, Twitter suspended the official account of Indian IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. The federal minister had tweeted a clipping of one of his interviews, which Twitter’s tech systems views as copyright violation.
Prasad reacted angrily to Twitter's block, saying the government has taken cognisance and is displeased.
The government's view on Twitter’s newly appointed GO has yet to be made known.