In this modern era of technology, social media is becoming an important component of daily life and the majority of the youth today prefer to communicate their ideas, thoughts, and opinions through it. There are different social media platforms that allow users to access social news, blogs, vlogs, and others in an easy manner. Some of the social media networking sites used extensively include Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. They help in enhancing social connectivity by allowing their users to share information through writing, music, and images quickly and unaffected by distance. Despite the fact that there are tremendous benefits of using social media, there are certain areas of concern such as privacy and security which are required to be addressed. One inaccurate or false piece of information posted by an individual on social media may lead to a negative impact on society. The media should focus on providing truth to the people of different cultures and religions as well as restrict the spread of false and incorrect information for eliminating hatred and communal problems.
Social Media Laws are required to deal with the crimes emerging these days due to the excessive use of social media platforms. These laws provide remedies in both civil and criminal manner for protecting the prohibited content. There are various laws associated with social media litigation which include Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Communication Decency Act for solving cybercrime or cyberspace problems.
Due to the anonymity and quackery of social media, there is an increase in online violence affecting people of all ages. In order to reduce social media-related crimes including stalking, harassment, bullying, and threats, social media laws are required. For instance, recent riots in some Indian states due to the circulation of fake news video violence through Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp lead to severe damage. This is the reason that there is a need for strong social media laws in our country.
Any individual who has a grievance regarding content published by another individual can issue his grievance on the grievance mechanism rather than blocking or ignoring the issue. Grievance redressal is performed by following an appropriate sequence as discussed below:
Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) is a primary law in India for dealing with matters related to e-commerce and cybercrime. The main objective of this Act is to grant legal recognition to transactions performed via electronic data exchange or any other means rather than paper-based communication. It also provides legal recognition to digital signatures and gives legal sanctions to enable e-governance. Under this law, penalties are prescribed for different frauds and crimes involving computers or a network. Along with this, certain provisions of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) are amended in the Information Technology Act which includes the Indian Evidence Act of 1872, the Reserve Bank of India Act of 1934, and the Banker’s Book Evidence Act of 1891. Some of the sections of the IT Act are listed as follows:
It provides basic rights to Indian citizens which helps them in protecting their basic life interests. If these rights are violated, various remedial measures are provided to them. In Article 19 of the Indian Constitution, the Right to freedom of speech and expression is mentioned which ensures that every individual has the right to present their thoughts to others. This means that they can raise their voice against any wrongdoing that happened to them or any other person they know.
Indian Penal Code (IPC) is addressed as the official criminal code of India aimed at covering all essential areas of criminal law. Anyone found guilty of a crime related to property, the human body, conspiracy, or social media is punishable under the provisions of the IPC. There are different Sections in the IPC, 1860 which deals with crimes related to social media. Some of the Sections identified for the same are illustrated as follows:
An intermediary should inform the user of its computer resource not to publish, display, update, modify, store or share information that belongs to another person, is defamatory, obscene, paedophilic, pornographic, and infringes intellectual rights. Online activities that threaten the unity, integrity, defence, security or sovereignty of India should be avoided and its friendly relations with foreign States should not suffer.
We live in a world where technology has become ubiquitous, as has the threat of cybercrime. In spite of the fact that there are numerous laws protecting victims of cybercrime or social media-related crimes, the need for new laws cannot be ruled out. Government should introduce the Right to be forgotten for control over personal data being given in some European countries. Along with this, strict action should be taken against wrongdoers so as to reduce the consequences of cybercrime.