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Updated: Nov 22, 2021


The advancement in technology is done for the comfort of Society as a whole. This advancement affects the economy positively; job creation, Business Boom, Competition all are subsets of the advancement of Technology. Whatsoever the intent may be while launching such advancement, it has several loopholes which are used by the miscreant for some Anti-Social purpose or for some other purpose that affects individuals on a Personal basis too. Adult Cyberbullying, as the name suggests, is a kind of bullying, which is quite similar to traditional bullying, which takes place in the cyber world, which is done using electronic gadgets. Some of the preferred platforms are Social-Media (Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook), text/SMS, Online Gaming communities, Instant communications (Gmail, Reddit, etc.) The term is derived from the traditional concept of bullying, which meant to tease, harass, Physically or mentally, pressurizing, insulting, attacking soft targets, etc. Cyberbullying is vast in terms of reach, thus can lead to grave consequences, and this is why it is worse than the traditional concept of bullying. As per a study, since 2011, there has been a rapid increase in the number of cases of Cyber Bullying, in India and teenagers' parents are found to be reporting it more than parents of any other age group. It would be incorrect to state that Cyber Bullying just started in 2011; it could have persisted earlier but has gradually increased as the number of users has gone high. The rise in the number of complaints could be because of Knowledge and awareness about the concept of Cyber Bullying in society, The presence of Anti-Cyber Bullying laws.[1]


· Inflammatory Language- This is one of the most frequent ways of Cyber Bullying. Some other person is used, and a statement is made sarcastically, generally used in politicians' speech and articles.

· Outing – It refers to third-party information kept private or shared with a few persons but is made publicly available. Such information spreads very quickly, and even defamation proceedings are often seen being filed.

· Troll- It refers to criticizing someone for his acts or omission at a particular point in time; the language here is very derogatory and offensive. In general, as and when one comments, it motivates others to do the same.

· Rumors- It refers to spreading false news, with the intent to misguide people, and the targeted audience, then such recipient gives Hilarious responses to the same, which makes the situation Chaotic. Section 505 makes it an Offence under the Indian Penal Code.[2]

· Stalking- It is one of the significant drawbacks of Social Media Platforms. It is easy to access someone's account and view their profile again, passing/ sending them a text or following them again and again, doing it even after apparent disinterest from that party. 354D defines stalking as

ü Any Man, who

ü follows a woman and contacts

ü attempts to follow her to foster personal interaction

ü Despite a clear indication of disinterest from that woman

ü Or monitors the use of women over the internet or other electronic communications, amounts to STALKING.

Stalking is a gender-specific offence, and it can be committed against women as per IPC, section 354D.[3]

Why do People Cyber Bully

There are several reasons why people Cyber Bully; some of such them are as follows-:

· Victims Of Bullying – Social media allows freedom of speech and expression as there is a presence of a vast majority on a particular platform which ultimately motivates them to write and criticizes to the extent they want. The party so suffered then tries to take revenge, and people often get divided into groups, and then the process of Cyber Bullying starts.

· Isolation – When people isolate themselves from society, they tend to react to things differently; such people are at high risk of anxiety, depression, etc., and other mental disorders. Their text at social networking sites, which are derogatory, falls within the category of Cyber Bullying.

· Anonymity – It’s easy for people to maintain anonymity on Social Media Platforms as a result of which there is hardly any fear to them of being exposed and as a result of which such pervert activities are on the rise, ever since the evolution of electronic means of communication. For example, people with an Anonymous username may form an account using a different email Id and then attack people on social Media Platforms, considering the identity to be anonymous, and goes to any extent.

· Lack of Knowledge- People are comparatively much more aware of the concept of Cyber Bullying; a significant number of people are still not aware of it; they take it for granted considering it to be a part of Social media and their life.

· Lack of substantial Legal Framework- This can be considered the root cause of all the major issues; the use of the law is to maintain discipline, harmony, peace, and tranquillity within the society, thereby instilling confidence in the people that the law governs the conduct of society. Cyber Bullying is a new concept, and the Electronic Communication cases are governed either by IPC or Under IT act, which is not comprehensive.[4]

Information technology guidelines for intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics,2021

These Guidelines have been formed concerning Cyber Bullying, Fixing Responsibility on the platforms for publishing content on their website to protect the users' interest in India.

Cyber Bullying was going underreported and unreported, and the need for a redressal mechanism was felt.

Social Media platforms in India have a vast user base; as per the data of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY), there are-

  1. WhatsApp users: 53 crores

  2. YouTube users:44.8 crores

  3. Facebook users: 41 crores

  4. Instagram users: 21 crores

  5. Twitter users: 1.75 crores[5]

Synopsis of the Rules-

1. Social Media platforms have been divided into two parts-:

Significant social Media Intermediary and Social Media Intermediary, the difference is that the former would be given such status when it has a user base of more than 50 lakh and vice-versa.

2. Bringing an end to “END TO END ENCRYPTION”- Now the Significant social media intermediary will have to bring an end to “end to end” encryption which was meant to protect the privacy of the users as a result of which not even the third-party user could read the encrypted messages and for that matter, not even the platform, over which such messages were shared. But it was contended that for security purposes, and would be used in such conditions when the Intelligence agency or any other is unable to trace the origin of the messages; it will be done under exceptional Circumstances, though it would be up to the government to decide and it is very subjective and could lead to arbitrary actions. (K.S Puttaswamy vs. Union of India- In this case, it was held that privacy is an integral part of Article 21)

3. Grievance resolution- This refers to the Grievance redressal Mechanism, which advocates the appointment of an officer to resolve the issues of the complainant; it needs to acknowledge the complaint within 24 hours of filing of such report and need to be addressed with 15 days of such Acknowledgement.

4. Policy and Rules & Regulations – Now it's compulsory on the part of the Social Media Intermediary to frame it sown rules and regulations, which must consist of that the data uploaded by the users on their website must not be obscene and shall be by the law of the land, it must not be against the public morality.

And if the Social Media Intermediary does not act by rules, then they cannot claim Safe Harbour, which is a kind of protection claimed by the Intermediary in case of lack of Actual Knowledge.

5. Voluntary Verification- This would help identify the genuine users to create a user-friendly atmosphere on the internet; after the verification of the user, a unique badge would be highlighted on its profile. [6]

Mandatory Appointments

(Person Appointed shall be an Indian, is a prerequisite)

· Resident Officer- The officer is required to prepare a monthly report on the number of cases received a content that has been taken down from the website, the complaint which has been disposed of.

· Nodal Person – Its work is similar to that of the CCO's, and it needs to ensure whether the orders of the court are carried on or not.

· Chief Compliance Officer – The job profile of this post is to check whether the organization has duly followed the rules and regulations or not, and if not, they could be held liable as per the laws of India. [7]


Information technology guidelines for intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics,2021 was the need of the hour as the cases of Cyber Bullying, Defamation, rumourssoci, stalking were being reported, so there was a need to put some responsibility on the shoulders of the social media platforms which are making huge profits, but were ignorant of the problems of users and the burden was on the Public Departments to resolve the issue, it was also seen that many cases went unreported just because people abstained from filing official complaint fearing Social Stigma.

An easy and effective way was to introduce such guidelines to motivate and put legal responsibility on the platforms. This would ultimately help resolve the issues faced by the users; it would promote more and more people, without any fear, to exercise their freedom of speech and expression. This step from the government was of utmost requirement. Even the anonymity issue is no more a problem as now, the concept of Voluntary Verification has been implemented, which would help the users in ascertaining, whether it is a genuine or fake user, the lack of this system, was earlier misused by the user and maximum of the problems were due to lack of this Verification system.

[1] [2] [3] Bare Act Section 354 [4] [5] [6] [7]

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