- Apprentice Lawyer
A petition in the Supreme Court has sought regulation of social media platforms including Twitter by framing guidelines with regard to their culpability under criminal and civil laws until a specific enactment in this regard is passed by parliament.
The plea by advocate Mahek Maheshwari has stated that "that there should be no parallel ecosystem act to undermine the highest judiciary of the nation and creation of unrest, dissatisfaction among the masses."
It is Maheshwari's case that due to lack of the government control and intervention, Twitter acts as it deems fit and in tune with their ideology.
The petitioner has elaborated the concept of shadow ban (also known as ghost ban) wherein a social media platform can partially block a user from their online community.
Users, the plea explains, will not have any way to know whether or not they have been shadow banned unless they experience a decrease in the audience reach of their posts/ tweets.
Maheshwari, in his petition, has taken exception to what he alleges to be a situation "when a social media platform starts to support a particular ideological wing creating a rift among masses by treating them unequally building ecosystem against the nation."
In this regard, he cites the example of a Twitter handle, "True Indology" which was shadow banned.
"Dr. Subramanian Swamy who is an Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha
being a Presidential candidate, his Twitter followers complained about his
tweets being invisible to which he replied suspecting shadow banning," the plea adds.
Twitter, he alleged, crossed all limits of lawlessness when it supported the mocking of the highest judiciary of Nation that is also institutionally of Supreme Court of Nation and individually of the judges as well.
The petitioner has prayed that the Central government be directed to formulate a framework or guidelines to appeal against any kind of grievances against Twitter and all such social media platforms within designated time frame till a proper law comes into force.
The plea also seeks directions to frame guidelines to entrust responsibility on the officers of Ministry of Electronics, Information & Broadcasting to deal with grievance/complaint against social media platforms.