Internet trolling


The internet and social media brings the world closer and keeps everyone connected because it isn’t attainable for folks to hold any social visits in person because of their agitated schedule. However, trolling could be a menace within the age of net and social media. Some folks with malicious intentions tend to misuse the social media platforms and thereby cause hassle to different innocent users. Therefore, if a person opens an account on any kind of social media should behave exceedingly in a dignifiedn an civilised manner and should use the platform in such a way that it  doesn’t cause any trouble to other social media users.

Social media plays an integral part in the life of almost every person irrespective of its age group. Out of approximately 7.3 billion population of the globe 3.17 billion individuals are active users of social media Trolling has become a menace in today’s age of social media, especially on social platforms and various individuals,mostly celebrities fall victims to troll.

The word trolling is originated in 1992 and is often used in relation to internet.Trolling refers to a creation of discord on the web by using  inappropriate abusive language, with intention  to quarrel or criticize others only just to seek cheap publicity. A social media troller could be a one who purposely speaks one thing contentious and tries to induce the eye of alternative user. The hunger for attention is such in these cases that the troll usually uses terribly vulgar language, abuses in their comments. Most of the times  these comments that were created usually were unrelated to the subject.

 Reasons for Growing Phenomenon of Trolling

There are various reasons which vary from the nature of a  person to lack of legal knowledge about the online social  media, some main reasons have been pointed out, which are as under :

  • Trolling for fun

The common people usually become involved in the trolling only for fun, while not realizing its dangerous effects. Commenting on something only for the fun has become the habit of some individuals, particularly the youngsters . Commenting on anything just for the fun sake  they’ll cross the limits which endup in trolling someone

  • Trolling out of Boredom or to seek revenge.

Trolling could also be done out of boredom, or to have amusement, or with  intention to take revenge. Social media is seen as associate degree instrument of diversion, and within the name of diversion the people crosses the ethical similarly as legal limits.

  • Self assertion

The trolls attempt to assert through their anonymous identity, what they need to say, however, cannot assert in public. This can be a mirrored image of mentally weak individuals, who tend to use harsh words, usually ending upto trolling.

  • Lack Of Legal Knowledge

The trolls believe that if they are trolling they are exercising their right to speech and expression through their account created on social media.

  • False Assurance Of Security.

Sometimes the trolls open a fake, and that they assume that nobody will catch them, because it is not possible to catch them, as they’re victimisation different identity.

  • Frustration or to gain cheap popularity.

Sometimes the trolls do trolling either out of frustration or to gain popularity. Number of individuals  takes interest in sports or different matters, once the items don’t go as per their want, then individuals tend to get disappointed and give  sharp reactions

Trolling: Legal Position

If one sums up all the above mentioned reasons then one  thing that catches the mind that the trolls either assume that they are not doing anything illegal or have the belief that  they would not be caught. Both these beliefs of the trolls are untrue. When the troll uses any abusive language, or tries to  intimidate or passes any lewd or any sexual remark, he is inviting the legal action.  We will now analyze what legal actions can be taken  against the trolls under various legislations.

1. Defamation

Quite a few people who open a  social media account believe  that they can post anything they feel like, as it is provided to them as the matter of their  right of  freedom to speech and expression. However it should clearly be noted that one who opens the  account on social media are not the owners of their account but are mere licensees. Secondly they are allowed to speak  about themselves, however when they choose to speak about  others then they have to abide by the limitations that are  imposed by the Indian Constitution .  When a troll tries to abuse, intimidate any person by posting such things on his account, he is inviting an action  of libel, which is mentioned in Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code. [1]

2. Sexual harassment

When the troll chooses to post any sort of lewd comment against a woman or demanding sexual favours  is inviting an action of sexual harassment mentioned in Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code. [2]

3. Online Stalking

This offence can also be committed against a woman. The troll is liable for this offence when he tries to foster personal interaction, by the medium of internet, email or any other  electronic medium, and that woman is showing complete disinterest, the troll may attract the provisions of Section  354D of the Indian Penal Code. [3]

  • Outraging the modesty of women.

The troll often resorts to posting of sexual messages,  videos, or remarks, regarding a woman he is trolling. The troll while carrying this activity is inviting the provisions of  Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code. [4]

  • Criminal intimidation 

When any troll gets engaged in such activities and the  victim is women then he is liable for Criminal intimidation mentioned in Section 507 of the Indian Penal Code. [5]

7. Violation of privacy

The trolls are also in a habit of intentionally posting the  images of private areas, of the person, he is trolling. This action of the troll can invite the wrath of Section 66E of The Information Technology Act 2000.[6] This Act is created for the protection of privacy of the individuals.

8. Publishing offensive material on the internet.

The troll can be punished under Section 67 of The  Information Technology Act, 2000[7] if he posts any offensive content on the internet. It is pertinent to note that the  language used in the section is whoever uses Lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or which may tend to deprave  or corrupt persons. These words are wide enough to include any offensive comment; even it may not be sexual in nature.

Conclusion and Suggestion

There is no doubt that being an Indian citizen we all have been granted  freedom of speech and expression  by our Constitution under Article 19 but this right has also been subjected to certain reasonable restrictions. Thus, everyone who opens the account has the right to post there in order to enjoy freedom of speech and expression. However, this right of the user isn’t absolute and is subject to restrictions. He/She has to behave in a very civilized method and follow the rules that are related to the usage of that platform, so that in order to enjoy one’s  right of freedom of speech and expression the rights of others are not violated.

  • Avoid using the foul language

While someone is  posting something concerning others, one should always use a decent language and  avoid such language which isn’t liked by others.

  • Say no to sexual content.

Social media mediums should be used for healthy interactions and sexually express contents shall be avoided at any price. It’s the responsibility of each net user to confirm that he keeps the medium of social media healthy by not uploading any sexually expressed content.

  • Avoid rude and personal criticism

Any temptation of rude or personal criticism should be avoided, it’s seen that people get agitated once some results don’t go into their favour, . it’s not wrong to criticize, however it ought to be reasonable ,fair , and not personal.

  • Cyber Police needs to be more active

It is true that the police are doing a commendable job in bringing the cyber criminals to books, but still got to increase their rate of conviction, in order to increase the fear of punishment on such  cyber criminals.

  • Reforms for certain basic legal awareness.

 The internet users are primarily the youth  who lack sound legal knowledge, therefore, the  awareness programs should be organized for them so they’re discouraged from getting involved in such kinds of activities.

[1] Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation intending to harm any persom, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person,  hereinafter expected, to defame that person

[2] Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing  to  outrage her modesty, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to five years along with a fine.

[3] Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment  for a term which may extend to three years along with a fine; and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment  for a term which may extend to five years along with a  fine.

[4] Whoever, intending to insult the modesty of any woman, utters any word, makes any sound or gesture, or exhibits any object, or intrudes upon the privacy of such woman, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, along  with fine.

[5] Whoever commits the offence of criminal intimidation by an anonymous communication, or having taken precaution to conceal the name or abode of the person from whom the threat comes, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, in addition to the punishment provided for the offence by the last preceding section.

[6] Whoever, intentionally or knowingly captures, publishes or transmits the image of a private area of any person without his or her consent,  violating the privacy of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years along with fine not exceeding two lakh rupees. 

[7] Whoever publishes or transmits or causes to be published or transmitted in the electronic form, any material which is lascivious or appeals to the prurient interest or if its effect is such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it, shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and with fine which may extend to five lakh rupees and in the event of second or subsequent conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and also with fine which may extend to ten lakh rupees.

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