Supreme Court Orders Facebook, Google, Microsoft To Block Rape Videos Circulating On Their Platforms
There is an evil side to social media as well, the one which we sometimes conveniently ignore or refuse to accept its existence. But, that evil is lurking around, choosing its next victim online.
One such evil is the circulation of rape videos on various social media platforms. Videos of sexual exploitation and rape are actually sold in large numbers in states like UP, Bihar, Rajasthan for as low as Rs 50. Shady dealers from rural hinterland acquire these videos, and make a business out of that.
And as per reports, these dealers acquire such sick videos from social media portals like Youtube and Dailymotion. And once a customer buys this video, it is again been re-circulated on the social media via WhatsApp, Facebook and the trauma of the victim continues.
Understanding the gravity of the situation, Supreme Court has ordered Facebook, Google, Microsoft to immediately place a ban on these videos.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur said, “The social media which is used to circulate the explicit clips should also be called in to ascertain their view as to how this can be curbed. We are issuing notice”,
This order was passed to Additional Solicitor General Maninder Singh.
Representing Govt. of India, Additional Solicitor will now issue notices to these social media portals and ask them to devise methods which can stop the sharing and viewing of these videos.
Why Supreme Court Intervened?
The Bench was hearing a PIL filed by Sunitha Krishnan who had initiated the popular #ShameTheRapistCampaign. Under this campaign, she received rape videos of more than 200 victims, which are being shamelessly shared across social media platforms, and instead of damaging the ‘reputation’ of the rapists, is destroying the life of the victims.
After her campaign, Govt. instructed CBI to investigate these videos, and book the culprits – both the rapists and those who are buying such videos and then circulating them on social media.
Interestingly, last month, the Court asked whether social media portals can held accountable and declared as accused in this case? This observation was made because these social media portals are the mediums through which such videos propagate, and if they are declared as accused along with the rapists and buyers of such videos, then it can turn out to be an interesting legal case study.
Analysts are saying that social media portals are mere platforms for sharing content, and hence, they cannot be held responsible for the type of the content. But yes, they can certainly block some specific type of content, if it harnesses evil and hatred.
Taking actual data from National Crime Record Bureau statistics, the apex court has asked the Centre to point out measures taken by the Govt. to stop cyber crimes against women and children.
As per arguments made by the Centre, it was revealed that Home Ministry has established exclusive Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, which will work to stop such cyber crimes, including sharing of rape videos.
A statement from the Home Ministry said, “In order to tackle cyber crimes comprehensively, MHA has already set up an expert committee to recommend a roadmap for tackling the menace,”
We will keep you updated as more details come in..