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Social Media Law And Its Implication

In today's modern era social media plays a very crucial /vital role in everyone's life, most of the people uses this medium to communicate to others or share their views, opinions and ideas through various social media platform which include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social sites.

It gives us quick electronic medium to share our information to other and it has the ability to connect with anyone in the world. The youth is specially one of the dominant users of social media. Additionally, the news and view from the different part of the world are displayed on social media.

It helps a lot of updates ourselves by providing the information of daily life. Social media modes are also helpful in the educational sector, most of the people follow various teachers and educational classes and get involved in E- classes. And in today's time it also helps to start the new businesses and start-ups through social media.

Social media also has some reverse effect on the life of the users. Extra dependency on social media detached themselves from their loved ones. It gives complete freedom to express their views to their users but everything has its own merits and demerits so this freedom also create problems to their users, the freedom which is given to their users is not a problem in itself but misuse of that freedom creates more problems to them.

As social media witnessed huge crowd on their different platforms which shares content and information on a large scale and this led to the emergence of fake news as most of the users spread fake news, content and information without due diligence and forgets about their upcoming outcome. With the rapid emergence and advancement of technology it created the new cyber world but unfortunately this led to the inevitable misuse of the technology and give rise to the various cybercrime.

Social media related crimes:

There are various crimes committed on social media that are:
  • Cyber bulling:
    It means to harass, embarrass, threaten or target another individual with the use of technology. It includes photos, videos, messages or contents that are posted to hurt or upset someone.
  • Cyber defamation:
    It basically means if any person Intentionally or deliberately Publish false statement about another individual on cyber space to defame or injure the reputation of that individual.
  • Email phishing:
    It means when recipient is tricked by the malicious emails sends or design by the attacker for falling them into a scam.
  • Fake/impersonating profile:
    In this a fake profile is created in any platform and make rumors and post objectionable photos and videos of the victim in the social media to defame them and for their own enjoyment especially with the women.
  • Burglary via social networking:
    In this the criminals search social media for a target for burglary. Most of the users post their personal information or activities on social media but this led reverse effect on them because criminal use that information for themselves and it will help them for burglary. For ex- one couple posted on the social media site that they are going on vacation and criminal took this type of information to find their targets and they get enough time to frame the strategy to steal things from the property.

Two Sides Of Social Media:

As criminals used social media to commit crime, in the same way social media and technology also used for preventing, protecting and investigating the crime. Earlier, people make their own opinions on the basis of newspaper and television but now social media plays a crucial role. People post their incidents on social media sites in their social circle and they help them for catching culprits.

Social media provides a large amount of data in form of text, videos and pictures, which help the law enforcement agencies for profiling criminals and apprehending culprits. Every coins have two side that is negative and positive but it depends upon the users to choose between the negative and positive and make use of it.

Some users chose negative side of social media and commit crime through it on the other hand law enforcement agencies use positive side of social media for finding culprits. So, it all depends on one's point of view whether to choose right side or wrong side and everyone has their own choices to make.

Laws Relating To Social Media In India:

Constitution of India 1950:

The constitution of India provides freedom to every citizen that state cannot take away. Through Article 19(1)(a) of constitution provides freedom of speech and expression to every person but this right is not absolute, the government has imposed certain restriction on them under article 19(2) of Indian constitution. There is no specific mention of freedom of media but it flows through article 19(1)(a).

Information Technology act 2000:

Section 66(a) of this act brings prohibition and punishment to any offence which is committed via social media to hurt or cause injury to others. And section 69(a) says that government has all the rights to stop or ban the public access to the information which is inconsistent with the provision of the government and it also provide the procedure to block the access to the public for the information which does not comply with the government.

Indian Penal code 1860:

This act provides remedies and punishment in the cases where there is damage to individual by the action of other individual and any person who violated the laws will be dealt with the provisions mentioned below:
  • Sections 124A: deals with sedition.
  • Section 153A: deals with promoting enmity
  • Section 295A: deals with intentionally insulting religion
  • Section 499 deals with defamation.
  • Section 505 deals with public mischief
  • Section 509: Disrespecting women's modesty.

Indecent representation of women (prohibition) Act,1998- The section 3 and 4 of this Act protects and prohibits the act of pornography and also punished those people who circulates these types of obscenity material. section 292 and 293 of Indian penal code also award punishment for indecent representation of women.

The latest social media controversy: banning of TikTok

In April, 2019 the madras High court passed the order to direct the state government for prohibiting the use of TikTok App, and they call it dangerous. The Indian government ban the TikTok app on 29 June 2020 and call it detrimental to integrity of India and sovereignty, public order and security of state. The act was banned under the section 69(a) of the information and technology act r/w with the provisions of Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for blocking of access of Information by Public) Rules 2009.

The ministry of electronics and IT has received various complaints from their sources that the data of the users is stealing in unauthorized manner and sent to outside India. The Indian cyber–Crime Coordination Centre, gave the recommendations for blocking these apps.

International laws relating to social media:

In Germany there is a law called NetzDG in which they set up the procedure so that they can review the content and if any illegal material is found then it has to be removed within 24 hours and also give updates about what's happening by them and if they did not remove it then then they have to pay the fine.

In European union they only emphasis on the terror videos if the content is not removed within one hour, then they have to pay the huge fine.

In Australia, the online safety act 2015 was created so that social media companies will not harass others and remove the abusive post otherwise they have to pay huge fine.

In Russia and China, some apps like google, twitter, WhatsApp are banned so that their information cannot be shared beyond their territories and they have lessened their cyber-attacks by banning these apps.

Related case laws:
Supreme court in the case of Shreya Singhal v union of India 2015 ruled that section 66A of the information technology act restricted the freedom of speech and expression and declared it unconstitutional.

In the case of Kharak singh v state of Uttar Pradesh, it was held that phone tapping amounts to breach of privacy and it can reasonably hold that by sharing information through WhatsApp with Facebook is an obvious in breach of privacy for their users.

In the case of Tehseen S. Poonawalla 2018 the supreme court gave the full freedom to the government to stop the circulation of explosive and irresponsible messages on the social media sites which have the propensity to incite the mob violence of any kind.

At last, it is concluded that social media is bane or boon for everyone as it helps to connect with their loved one but on other hand some of its users became the victim of cyberattacks. Despite the fact that there are various laws are in existence for protecting the victim from the wrongdoer but need for new laws can never be ruled out.

The government should take strict actions against the wrongdoers and punished them for their crime so that every user of social media feels secure . Along with government, the users should also be aware while posting anything on social media. It is very necessary to establish specialized legislative framework to control or protect the cybercrimes. Social media can also become a blessing for one and curse for another. Written By:
  1. Priyanka Kumari - Sharda University
  2. Deepak Gupta - Sharda University

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