If govt fails to curb social media misuse, we’ll step in: SC | India News


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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday sought to goad the Centre to check misuse of social media platforms for circulating fake news and rumours, saying it could step in to do what is required if there was no action by the executive.
Asking whether the Centre plans to put in place a mechanism to trace the origin of objectionable messages on social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, YouTube and others which have led to mob violence and law and order problems, a bench of Justices Deepal Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said the issue needs to be examined and if the Centre does not take any measures, the judiciary has to step in to pass appropriate order.
It asked solicitor general Tushar Mehta to take instructions from the Centre and inform the court on September 24 about the government’s proposal on the issue. “These aspects need to be examined and it requires to be decided. If Union of India is framing something in near future then we can grant it some time but if it is only at contemplation stage, we will have to hear the case,” the bench said.
The court was hearing a plea of Facebook and WhatsApp seeking transfer of cases to the apex court pertaining to regulation of social media profiles which are pending in different high courts, including Madras HC which has taken suo motu cognisance of the issue.
Senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Kapil Sibal, appearing for Facebook and WhatsApp, told the bench that the issues involved in the cases were of global significance and would have wider implications and the apex court should decide the issue.
Solicitor general Mehta also said the Centre has no objection if the cases are transferred to the apex court.
Opposing the plea of social media giants, the Tamil Nadu government said the multinational companies had misrepresented the facts before the court by stating that the HC is examining the issue of linking of social media profiles of users with Aadhaar number.
In an affidavit filed in the court, the state government said the HC “effectively abandoned” that prayer made in a PIL and took suo motu cognisance on how the Information Technology Act and the rules framed under it should be properly implemented.
“It is further reiterated that the question before the HC relates to the prevention and detection of crimes and traceability of originator of information (messages) to counter fake news and mob violence. This is a question that deserves to be gone into by the HC and decided at the earliest,” the affidavit said.




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