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NEW DELHI: India’s battle with Twitter escalated on Wednesday with the government accusing the US firm of deliberately ignoring new IT rules, as reports suggested it can now be prosecuted for users’ tweets.

Currently social media companies operating in India are classed as intermediaries, shielding them from criminal liability for anything posted on their platforms.

But the companies face losing this protection if they fail to comply with new “Intermediary Guidelines” that came into force in India on May 26.

These rules — which critics say could be used to silence dissent — demand that the firms give details of the “first originator” of posts deemed to undermine India’s sovereignty, state security or public order.

The tech companies also have to appoint a chief compliance officer for the rules and a “grievance redressal officer”, both based in India.

The Indian government said on June 5 that while its peers such as Facebook had complied, Twitter has not. It gave it “one last notice” to do so.

On Wednesday IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said — on Twitter — that the firm was still not in adherence.

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