Social Media Menace Part 3: ‘Tech can be used to reduce mobocracy’ 

Sunil Pradhan
Friday, 20 July 2018

While incidents of lynching and mob violence is becoming difficult to stop in India, Sakal Times, in a three-part series, analyses the drawbacks of social media and the need for awareness among people about dangers of technology.

Pune: While technology is playing a major role in rapid spread of fake messages, causing a lot of damage, experts have pointed out that people should use technology to curb the ongoing menace of social media’s misuse. The rising incidents of mobocracy in the country have forced the Supreme Court to intervene in the issue.

Read Part 1: ‘Spread awareness about dangers of social media’

Read Part 2: People should do fact checking before forwarding posts: Experts

The Court has asked Parliament to consider enacting a new law to sternly deal with mob lynching and cow vigilantism incidents. Speaking on the issue, Advocate Gaurav Jachak, who deals in cybercrime cases, said that such incidents are tarnishing the image of the country. “Instead of preventing such incidents, people are becoming a part of it which is certainly not expected. If people are suspicious about any person they can take a picture on their phone and verify the same with the police. Similarly, people can pass on information about suspicious people to the police. We just need to be alert and use technology for good,” added Jachak. 

Advocate Chetan Bhutada said the Supreme Court had to intervene as such acts of mobocracy are putting people’s rights in danger. “It is the law which has the authority to punish a person and not people. We have a Constitution and people in a democratic nation will have to follow the Constitution at any cost. 

Similarly, it is the police who have the authority to arrest a person and it is the judiciary which decides whether a person is guilty or not. A person is held guilty only if there is sufficient scientific evidence against him and the entire process of lodging a complaint then an FIR, inquiry, evidence collection is lengthy. This is not the case with mobocracy in which people are judging a person in a few minutes,” added Bhutada. 

Speaking about use of technology to reduce such incidents, Bhutada said it is quite easy for tech companies to categorise the message into different categories. “The source can be reflected in the message.

Similarly, if the message is a forward or spam it can be tagged like that. Similarly, government can verify the message and the message can be appended as verified which can build trust in people,” added Bhutada. 

The advocate said such incidents of people taking the law in their hands have increased in last few months.a person is guilty or not guilty. A person is held guilty only if there is sufficient scientific evidence against him and the entire process of lodging a complaint then an FIR, inquiry, evidence collection is lengthy. This is not the case with mobocracy in which people are judging a person in a few minutes." added Bhutada. 

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