Social media laws and its implication- A comparative study between India and USA

Social media laws

Social media is basically a web-based communication platform which permits individuals to communicate allocating and consuming information. It is distinct from that conventional like Television, Radio and Print Media. Broadly, media is divided into four categories i.e. Print Media, Broadcast Media, Out of home media, and Internet media.

Table of Contents

Social Media Regulation in India

The major problem which arises out of social media is the freedom which is being provided by it to its users. The kind of freedom which is given to users is not a problem in itself but their misuse by their results in many complications.

Numerous social media platforms all over the globe have witnessed a huge user base of around 3.8 billion. With the huge crowd on various platforms, a large amount of content gets posted and shared on various platforms. As a result, fake news and other content get a lot of traction on such platforms because of which many incidents of public outrage, unrest, and communal riots affect public order. A recent example is that of the 2020 Delhi Riots where users posted certain videos that got viral.

For regulating social media, the government draw up the Information and Technology Rules, 2021. In case of infringement of rights, these provisions have been established to seek redressal for their concerns. Such regulations are made for the protection of women and children from sexual offences, to stop the spread of false news and to prevent the misuse of social media platforms as can be seen in Tehseen Poonawalla Vs Union of India, (2018) 9 SCC 501, the SC advised the government to restrict the spread of explosive texts and videos on various social media platforms, having the potential to inspire mob violence and lynching.

Social Media Regulation in USA

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission manage all electronic communications. It determines the interstate and international radio, television, wire, satellite etc. The commission is an independent body looked up to by congress and is a leading authority in the United States for communicating law, technology, regulation etc.

Comparison of the Regulations of USA and India

When we compare the social media regulations of India and USA, we observe the number of differences and similarities for example,

  1. In order to protect the privacy of employees, many laws have been made in the USA to intercept employers from requiring passwords for employees’ social media accounts. On the other hand, in India legislation is not yet regulated and only the ministry of Communication and Technology has issued guidelines on the use of social networks by government organizations.
  2. To address the crimes and implement the policy with respect to computer and intellectual property, the department of Justice in USA has a responsibility to do so while in India; CERT has a very restricted jurisdiction with respect to computer-related crimes. At the same time, it has no powers in Intellectual Property Rights Violations. India is far back in terms of both cybercrime detection and power to contain social media difficulty. Its powers are limited in nature.

The provisions of Safe Harbor, amalgamated with complete protections of American freedom of speech, provided the social media magnate with the freedom to operate independently without notable government interference. Nevertheless, In India, as per Information and Technology Regulation 2021, social media giants can now be held answerable for the content they will be posting on social media.

Suggestions

Both countries must enact a law that would be dedicated towards its regulation, to specify what can be posted or to what extent the content can be shared under the guise of Freedom of Speech and Expression.

Conclusion

A wide figure of reasons is there for why neither India’s nor USA’s legal systems have responded to social media regulation with a single legislation. Both states have separate sets of rules for various offences committed on social networking accounts. Many social media laws are there under which both countries are governed but, neither country has a single act that has been completely dedicated to it.

Written By- Bisma Bashir

Lovely Professional University

References

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