A bench of the Supreme Court hearing petitions on linking Facebook with Aadhaar and traceability of its messaging platform WhatsApp has ruled that it must be the government that must frame rules on the matter.
Neither the High Court nor the Supreme Court is the right forum to frame guidelines on the issue, the court observed, adding that when complex issues like privacy are involved, the government should step in and make regulations.
“We have been given to understand that the centre is in the final stages of developing the regulatory framework,” it said.
A Big Market
India is a vital market for Facebook and its subsidiary service WhatsApp. Any adverse ruling by the court would have had serious ramification for these social media platforms.
The court observed that it is as concerned as the government on the issue of abuse of social media platforms. “There can be cases of incitement of violence, porn, the security of the country where under strict guidelines necessary disclosures are made by social media platforms. People are beginning to post anything on social media without fear of any action being taken.”
The court has called for strict safeguards for release of information by social media platforms as there are serious issues of privacy. “The regulatory framework with safeguards should be developed at the earliest by the centre.”
The state can protect itself against defamatory content online, but what about individuals, asked the court.