Picture credit: cyberblogindia.in
The internet is ubiquitous present computer network that connects people and information. This cyber space has grown its feet around each corner of the world. But sin and virtue are two sides of same coin. Internet too has its advantages and disadvantages. Social Media is the latest form of media available to the audience of different ages, classes and groups. It is used as a medium for interaction and communication among people across the globe, be it uniting with old ones or meeting new people. The hindrance with the kind of social media involves several other aspects. The cyber offenders use this to commit offences related to violation of cyber law.
INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY ACT
Information technology is changing rapidly and attaining popularity. It has the ability to dispense information which has caused upheaval in many facets of our lives. Concurrently, technological advancement has given rise to unlawful activities by people. Cyber law is a term used to describe legal issues related to communication technology, particularly “cyber space”. It is formed to maintain justice and discipline in the cyber world. The Information Technology act 2000, deals with cyber issues of law. It is based on the General Assembly Resolution which recommended all states to give favorable consideration to the model law.
In general, the Information Technology Act, 2000 but parts of social media in a word that has been described under section 2(w) as, “intermediary”, with respect to any particular electronic records, means any person who on behalf of another person receives, stores, or transmit that record or provide any service with respect to that record and includes telecom service providers,network service providers, web-hosting service providers, search engines, online payment sites, online auction sites, online market places and cyber cafes. In the capacity of this definition the government includes social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. under the provision of this act have tried to cover up every other such wrongs happening through these websites. Unlawful activities through social media are also included in other provisions which are introduced with the Informative Technology Amendment Act, 2008.
MISUSE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Social Media act as a platform for interaction among people across the globe. The Oxford Dictionary defines a social network as “A dedicated website or other application which enables users to communicate with each other by posting information, comments, messages, images, etc.” Following are some forms of social media:
Social Networks - It allows you to connect with other people of similar background and interests. Usually these consist of a profile, various ways to interact with other users, ability to setup groups, etc. The most popular amongst them are face book, instagram, linked-in, whtsapp, etc.
Bookmarking Sites – It allows you to save, organize and manage links to various websites
and resources around the internet. Most allow you to “tag” your links to make them easy to share
Social News - Allows people to post various news items and then allows it’s users to “vote” on the items. The voting is the core social aspect as the items that get the most votes are displayed the most prominently. The community decides which news items get seen by more people.
Media Sharing - Services that allow you to upload and share various media such as Videos and pictures. Most services have additional social features such as profiles, commenting, etc. The most popular are YouTube.
The easy availability of access to social media has also triggered the phenomenon where people post information on social media without understanding its ramifications. A number of times, people post content on various social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc on an impulse without thinking it through. As the user network has increased, the danger related to the privacy of information and media which the user has uploaded has enlarged. The crime rate on these networks is increasing with addition of each user. We are witnessing tremendous misuse of social media. The cases of men being lynched to death on mere rumours of storing beef have revealed the violation of cyber laws through social media activities.
Every sixth cybercrime in India is committed through social media, Alok Mittal, the chief of
the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has said.
In the case of Google India Private Limited v Visaka Industries, the company filed a case against Google India for criminal conspiracy, defamation and publishing content alleging that a blogger named Gopala Krishna used Google’s Blogspot.com, to spread defamatory information about the Company. The blogger argued that the company had connections with the Congress party and therefore the company could manufacture asbestos. Google India stated that it couldn’t be held liable for content posted by users on a platform which is hosted by its parent company Google Inc..The Andhra Pradesh High Court held Google India to be liable.
Pakistan had filed a case against Twitter, Facebook and other social networking websites, for posting “blasphemous materials”. This material was posted as groups on these social networks encouraged users to submit their caricatures of Prophet Mohammed. The court observed that the content was uploaded in Pakistan itself and these websites should remove the content with immediate effect.
The case of Boys Locker Room has made his place in the headlines of news within very months days. The incident got its beginning from the screenshots from a group created by adolescent boys on Instagram by the name of Bois Locker Room were leaked. Based on the screenshots, it appeared that these adolescent boys were sharing morphed pictures of minor girls, and passing derogatory remarks.The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) took up the matter and issued notice to Instagram and Delhi Police on May 04, 2020. Subsequently, the Delhi Police Cyber Crime Cell took suo motu cognizance of the same and registered a case under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000, on the basis of social media reports.
The ambiguity over the internet and social media has given rise to violation of cyber laws. The right of accessing the internet is “non negotiable. It is designed for common good, so it should be safe and secure.
The vague provisions of certain laws should be interpreted liberally and in accordance with the norms of the society and more stringent laws should be made and implementation of these laws should be the main concern. There is lack of awareness among many individuals using the social networking websites and more often than not they are hesitant to take action against the offenders committing the offence.
 Resolution R/RES/51/162 adopted by the general assembly of the United Nations on 30th Jan, 1997
 As substituted by IT (Amendment) Act, 2008
 http://www.epitomejournals.com Vol. 4, Issue 4, April 2018, ISSN: 2395-6968
 Criminal Appeal No. 1987 of 2014
1. Pankaj Muthe & AT Kearney report, 2012, http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/article2391856.ece Accessed on 25th, January,
2. Dr. Vipul Partap, and Rahul Mittal, an article on “Impact of social media on society and
cyber law”, in academia.edu
3. Essay on social media and the constitution of India, Manupatra, available at http://docs.manupatra.in/newsline/articles/Upload/FD3AFD92-81D1-4602-B280-238551FE13A1.pdf
4. Supreme court says, centre should frame guidelines to deal with social media misuse, Bar and Bench, https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-says-centre-should-frame-guidelines-to-deal-with-social-media-misuse/article29498178.ece
AUTHOR- Pratibha, BALLB, 2nd year, Panjab University