Filing of FIRs against Facebook seems to be on the rise in India. The latest to join the list of the pending FIRs is the FIR filed on Monday by senior police officer Amitabh Thakur (News Source: FirstPost). The world’s biggest social network has been booked for a Facebook group that exhorts people to slaughter cows.
The complaint that has been filed at Gomtinagar police station in Lucknow by Thakur alleges that Facebook group “Aao mil kar kaaten Gaay” (Let us come together and slaughter cow) openly exhorted and glorified cow slaughter. However, I did a search for the group but the social network failed to drive any results.
The FIR was registered under Indian Penal Code’s sections dealing with provocation with intent to cause riot, public nuisance and intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace, and Section 66-A of the IT Act.
In his complaint, Thakur said that the group has extremely abusive and dirty words by various users against Hindu and Islam religion and also against the Prophet Mohammad and Hindu Gods and Goddesses. These insults could lead to breach of peace added Thakur, who has previously filed four more FIRs against the social network.
Holding Facebook responsible for Facebook groups that are being opened on the platform by individuals or a group of people, is naive. One could always report abuse for the content that is being shared. However, dragging Facebook into legal implications in a country where it is just having a sales office is really not showing any results. We recently reported how US government had rejected the request of serving summons to the US companies such as Facebook, Google, etc. since it implicates free speech principles.
Furthermore, the US authorities have also made a point that they will not be able to assist with the execution of the request without additional information being provided to them. However, the US authorities have also said that if there are other facts like information indicating a risk or threat to Indian lives, that have been pertinent to this case and have not been provided, then they are ready to help.
Under such situations, filing FIRs wouldn’t be the immediate solution but reporting such incidents or taking in Facebook India in confidence would be a better approach.