In the developing era of society, social media has become an important part of our lives, not only for the person in individual but also in the field of business or in corporate sectors, it plays a pivotal part. Its popularity is spreading day by day. Social media has its negative aspects too as fraud or the spread of false rumours in society which disturbs the peace of our nation. In this blog, we will explore social media laws and their implications or need for us.
KEYWORDS: social media, cybercrime, grievances, society
In the past decade, we have seen a blast in social media usage and simply we can term it ‘The Social Media Storm’. The majority of youth prefer to communicate their ideas, views and opinion through the medium of social media. There are many social media sites or portals that allow their users the use of social blogs and news in an easy manner. Some of the sites that are most popular nowadays among us are Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They help in indulging users by allowing them to share information through writings, music and images it also increases social connectivity and breaks the bars of distance.
We all know everything has its negative aspects too so instead of many benefits of using social media there are some areas for concern like security and privacy. One inaccurate or false rumour posted by any individual can lead to a disturbance in society. The media should primarily focus on giving true and transparent information to the people of different religions and cultures as well as restrict the spread of incorrect information to eradicate hatred and communal problems from society.
MEANING AND NEEDS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA LAW
Social Media Laws deal with all the legal issues related to user-generated content. It is a developing area of law and covers both civil and criminal law aspects. Some of the legal concerns of social media are the right to privacy, intellectual property (IP) law, defamation etc.
Social media crimes are springing these days due to the extravagant use of social media platforms. There are various laws related to social media litigation which include Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the Communication Decency Act for solving cyberspace and cybercrime problems.
Due to the obscurity and hypocrisy of social media, there is an increase in online violence affecting people of all ages. In order to reduce social media crimes, including bullying, stalking and harassment social media laws are required.
GRIEVANCE REDRESSAL MECHANISM
Any individual who has a complaint regarding content issued by another individual can raise his grievances on a grievance mechanism rather than ignoring the issue. Grievance Redressal can be done by following the below-mentioned steps:
The grievances must be addressed by its publisher and within the time period of 15 days, they should inform about their decision to complainant.
If the publisher does not communicate its decision within the given time frame, then it passes on to the self-regulatory body.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision of the publisher, then they can raise an appeal on it within 15 days to the self-regulatory body.
After this, the self-regulatory body addressed the grievance and pass on its decision to the publisher in the form of guidance and advisory.
The self-regulatory body also informs the complainant about the made decision within 15 days.
If the complainant is not satisfied with the decision made by the self-regulatory body then they can appeal to the Oversight Mechanism within the period of 15 days of the decision.
REMEDIES UNDER INDIAN LAW
The Information Technology Act
Information and Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) is the primary law in India dealing with matters related to cybercrimes and e-commerce. Under this law, punishments are prescribed for various frauds and crimes involving computers or a network. Section 66A of the IT Act deals with the content of social media and its regulation and it gives power to detain anyone posting offensive content and message on social media. Sending false or wrong information with the purpose of spreading hatred and violence Such activity is punishable and as per the law, three years of imprisonment with a fine is the penalty imposed on criminals.
Constitution of India
It provides basic rights to citizens of India which helps to protect their basic life interests. One of the rights is freedom of speech and expression which comes under Article 19 of the constitution of India. This right guarantees all citizens and states that free speech cannot be restrained by making any law against it, whereas freedom is under the boundaries of some reasonable restriction as mentioned in Article 16(2). Therefore, any person is free to read, write and comment on any issue under the reasonable restrictions that the state imposes in the interest of citizens and the country.
Indian Penal Code
Indian Penal Code (IPC) is addressed as the official criminal code of India aimed at covering all essential areas of criminal laws. There are some sections in IPC, 1860 which deals with the crimes related to social media. Some of the sections are as follows:
Section 153(A) of IPC punish those who promote conflict between groups on the ground of race, gender, religion etc.
Section 295(A) of IPC punish people who intentionally attack the religious belief of people.
Section 400 of IPC deals with defamation.
Section 505 of IPC anyone who makes a statement promoting public mischief faces legal consequences.
Section 509 of IPC deals with disrespecting women’s modesty.
Related Case Law
Shreya Singhal vs UOI 24th March 2015
In this case, police arrest two women under section 66A for posting comments on Facebook after the death of a political leader. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India on March 24, 2015 invalidate Section 66A of then Information Technology Act, 2000 because it was unconstitutional.
According to the social media statistics report, 4.80 billion people around the world use social media. In the last 12 months, approximately 150 million new users have come online. The average daily time spent using social media is 2 hours 24 minutes. By analysing the statistics, we can say that social media become an important part of our lives. However, we can see that social media has its own merits and demerits, as it helps people by connecting them with their dear ones, it breaks the barrier of distance but on the other hand, a lot of people suffer from it too and sometimes become a victim of frauds and cybercrime or cyber-related issues like stalking, bullying etc. Therefore, to stop its unfair practices various laws are introduced and the government is trying hard to make its citizen aware of such unfair practices of social media.
Social media is public even if you remain in private settings and we live in a society where technology has become an inescapable tool which widely opens the doors for cybercrime. In spite of having various laws related to social media-related crime and protecting victims of cybercrimes, the need for new laws and provisions for it cannot be unseen. People need to be aware while using any web portal, sites etc as no one can enter our space until we gave them space. At last, we can conclude that social media is both a blessing and a curse.
Shreya Singhal vs U.O.I on 24 March, 2015 https://indiankanoon.org/doc/110813550/#:~:text=Shreya%20Singhal%20vs%20U.O.I%20on%2024%20March%2C%202015
April 2023 global overview https://www.smartinsights.com/social-media-marketing/social-media-strategy/new-global-social-media-research/#:~:text=April%202023%20global%20overview%2C