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Madras HC says social media firms cannot abdicate responsibility for sprad of fake news

Chennai, Sep 20 (UNI) The Madras High Court on Friday said Social
media companies, including facebook, twitter and WhatsApp, could
not escape responsibility for the spread of fake news and hate
messages and shared on their platforms.
A Division Bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and N Seshasayee
said after providing a platform for the people to post their views
and share messages, these companies could not abdicate their
responsibility for the spread of wrong and defamatory information
or fake news.
The Bench was hearing a petition filed by animal rights activist
Antony Clement Rubin seeking a direction to make Adhaar seeding
mandatory for social media accounts to trace and prevent cyber
crimes.
Later, he had amended his prayer that instead of Aadhaar, it must
be made mandatory to link any one government approved/authorised
identities.
The Bench observed that tough they might be governed by rules of
countries elsewhere, social media firms, operating in India, should
comply with the laws of the land.
''It is essential that they abide by Indian laws,” the Judges
said, expressing grave concern over the dangers posed by fake
news and online hate campaign.
Referring to institutions and statutory fora established to
monitor and control the broadcast and visual media, the Bench
asked the Centre as to whether there was any statutory body
to rein in social media organisations and filter the spread
of fake news.
To this, the Centre's counsel said the government was in the
process of enacting a legislation in this regard and that it
was in final stages.
The Judges,a fter recording the submission, adjourned further
hearing in the case to October 10.
UNI GV1855
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