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
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
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.
- Priyanka Kumari - Sharda University
- Deepak Gupta - Sharda University