Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Central government, Facebook, Google and Twitter on an application seeking the removal of groups like ‘Bois locker room’ from social media platforms to protect children.
A division bench of Justice RS Endlaw and Justice Sangita Dhinga Sehgal asked Central government, Facebook, Google and Twitter to file reply on the plea and slated the matter for hearing on July 14. Central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwalia accepted the notice.
The petition, filed by former RSS ideologue KN Govindacharya through advocate Virag Gupta, also sought directions to safeguard youngster and school students from menace of fake and illegal accounts and groups on social media, which are impermissible in law.
Govindacharya, in his plea, sought direction to social media companies to remove illegal groups on their platforms for the safety and security of children in cyberspace.
As per application, social media companies have employed thousands of content moderators and use technologies like artificial intelligence to remove illegal content on their own.
“The unwanted episodes like ‘bois locker room’ and suicide of a Gurgaon resident reflects the failure of social media companies in performing their obligations. Moreover, these incidents are only the tip of the iceberg, which are causing a big shockwave in the students, schools and society,” the plea said.
It said that due to cheap data and rising number smartphones, usage of social media has risen exponentially, but adequate safeguards are not being implemented in India.
“During lockdown, the world has moved online, and schools are conducting classes online. 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, the petition said adding that it is our collective responsibility to ensure a safe cyberspace for our children,” the plea said.
“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,” it added.
It said that the presence of fake users is one of the core reasons behind such content and added that 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,” the plea said.