Cyber crimes: Social media firms hinder probe

Mumbai: With a substantial rise in the number of cyber crimes, social media is highly abused as a platform to commit them.

The delay in response from leading internet and social networking companies, such as Google, Facebook and GoDaddy, is a cause for concern when it comes to seek evidence from them. Police said, the more there is a delay, the more notorious individuals would misuse their platforms.

A recent data published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) revealed a rife in cases of crime using social media accounts triple over the past two years. In some cases, derogatory remarks or comments are posted by an accused to defame the complainant. An official said, “When such an incident is reported, police approach the social media company to either delete the fake account or to pull down derogatory profiles or posts. The website, however, does not respond to us immediately.”

“If the social media websites continues to remain non-cooperative, not only will it hinder the investigation, but it will also compel the police to book them in the crime,” said the official.

In several instances, the social media companies do not count the damage to reputations caused by fake profiles, rumours or uploading of videos of individuals in intimate acts without their consent. When approached for information, the companies take anywhere between 15 and 60 days or even more to provide the needed information, the official added.

“The urgency is often not understood. In case of defamatory comments, by the time the firm responds, there is little reputation left to salvage,” a senior cyber crime official said.

Recently, a cine foundation president was at the receiving end of threats and abuses after his old video allegedly abusing a politician surfaced online. BN Tiwari, the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) president, approached the Amboli Police last week, complaining about a defamatory video posted on social media. Tiwari said, the video was shot six months ago and it was taken out of context. Amboli police also questioned the youth who posted the video on Facebook and Twitter. Tiwari said he has been received threats and abusive messages from unidentified persons since the video defaming him surfaced on social media. Tiwari was threatened of mob lynching after the video of him speaking ill about NCP chief Sharad Pawar were reposted.

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