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Illegal Groups Should be removed from Social Media for the children’s safety:Delhi High Court to Central Government

An application was filed by K N Govindacharya regarding unlawful groups that is continuing to function in Social Media Sites that is a serious threat to Children.The plea was filed via advocate Gaurav Pathak that reads,Due to the negativity, fake news and illegal content, many young lives are destroyed. Such groups are criminal in nature and do not deserve any protection of free/creative speech”.The plea also says that,“Due to cheap data and rising smartphones, usage of social media has risen exponentially, but adequate safeguards are not being implemented in India…Invariably, with increased access to internet, more and more minors have joined social media, and this includes children who are less than 13 years of age. It is most humbly submitted that it is our collective responsibility to ensure a safe cyberspace for our children.”

The application also pointed out that,”That the incident of ‘Bois Locker Room’ over Instagram shows one of the vilest forms of social media. It is submitted that the presence of such accounts/groups/content on social media is not about boys or girls, but relates to the overall well-being of juveniles in general.. Social Media companies are direct beneficiaries of fake users,as it increases their advertisement benefits. These fake users are also part of vested groups, who push illegal content to corrupt the minds of innocent children.”

As a result of the plea,the Delhi High Court has issued direction to Central government to monitor the illegal activities and remove unlawful groups from social media platforms.The matter was considered by a bench consisting of Honourable Justices, Rajiv Sahai Endlaw and Sangita Dingra Sehgal.The notice has been issued to Central Government,Facebook India Online Services Pvt Ltd, Twitter India Pvt Ltd and Google India Pvt Ltd.

The applicant pointed out the lack of care by Social media Sites and said that,”That the culpability of social media companies is also visible from the fact that they have set up a business model of “Influencers”. In fact, there are influencers who are as young as 6 years of age, and children between 6-12 years of age are considered a whole market category..the social media companies claim to have employed thousands of content moderators. They also claim to use technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) to remove illegal content. Many social media platforms have set up their internal boards, highlighting a parallel adjudicatory process. Yet, Social Media platforms must be held liable under penal provisions of Information Technology Act, 2000 as well as The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO).”

Advocate Mukul Rohatgi appeared for Facebook,Advocate Sajan Poovayya appeared for Twitter and Advocate Aditya Gupta appeared for Google.

The matter is decided to be next heard on July 14 2020.