Supreme Court Slams Social Networks for Failing to Prevent Offensive Content

A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta granted one month to the social media sites to ensure a foolproof mechanism to prevent uploading of objectionable materials.

The Supreme Court on Friday raised concern over irresponsible behaviour of search engines and social networking sites like Google, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Yahoo in promoting objectionable material leading to lynching of people, and warned imposing Rs. 5,00,000 per day on them if they fail to develop a foolproof mechanism to prevent uploading of such material.

A bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta granted one month to the social media sites to ensure a foolproof mechanism to prevent uploading of objectionable materials including child pornography, gangrapes, and so on, on the social media sites.

It said it will impose a fine of Rs. 5,00,000 per day on Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook and WhatsApp till they come up with mechanism to prevent such materials, and gave one month to companies after they sought time.

“What type of attitude you (social media sites) are all adopting? There is so much objectionable material on the social media sites. People are being lynched across the country, people are dying at various places, but you seem to be not bothered.

“You are saying that as long as it does not happen to me, it is ok. When it happens to me, then we will look into it,” the anguished bench told the advocates representing social media sites.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Prajwala asking the court to direct search engines and social networking sites not to allow uploading of offensive video on their platforms.

The NGO has contended that despite several assurances by the search engines and social media sites, child pornography continues to be available on the internet medium.

The court now posted the matter for August 27 for further hearing.

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