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India Warns Rules Still Apply to an Elon Musk-Owned Twitter

Indian officials said last year that social media platforms may no longer be eligible to seek liability exemptions as intermediaries or the hosts of user content


The CEO of Tesla Elon Musk
The investors said the recent drop in Tesla's stock has put Elon Musk's ability to finance his acquisition of Twitter in "major peril". File photo: DPA via AFP.

 

India has warned Elon Musk that it will continue to demand checks on users and content when the Tesla billionaire takes over Twitter.

A change in ownership would make no difference, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s junior minister for electronics and technology said, when asked about Musk’s promise to uphold free speech.

“Our safety and trust expectations in law and rules require all intermediaries to do due diligence about its users and content to qualify to be an intermediary,” he said.

Indian government officials said last year social media platforms may no longer be eligible to seek liability exemptions as intermediaries or the hosts of user content if they failed to comply with local information and technology laws.

Laws that took effect last year make social media firms more accountable to requests for swift removal of posts and require them to give details of the originators of messages. The companies must also have mechanisms for addressing grievances.

The warning on Twitter comes as Musk faces continued obstacles in selling Tesla cars in India.

Nitin Gadkari, India’s transport minister, said on Tuesday that Tesla was welcome to set up shop in the country although “making in China and selling here is not a good proposition”.

Some opposition to Tesla comes from an Indian nationalist group close to the ruling party headed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Swadeshi Jagran Manch co-convener Ashwani Mahajan said it was opposed to Tesla getting tariff cuts.

“We want to promote our own domestic industry,” Mahajan said. “Our automobile industry can now compete and is doing well.”

 

  • Reuters, with additional editing by George Russell

 

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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.

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