THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: While editors and publishers of newspapers are legally liable for any content appearing on the respective media, owners and managers of social media platforms are free from legal obligations for any posts. This is one reason for the mushrooming scaremongering and malicious campaigns on social media. According to former State Police Chief Jacob Punnoose, social media is just a free-for-all platform where one can post any articles, photographs or videos without the consent of the owners or managers of the platform.
However, in the case of registered newspapers or news channels, any contents are supposed to be published only after verification by the editor and publisher. “If someone writes any defamatory comments against another person on the compound wall of a third person’s property, the third person could not be held liable," Mr. Punnoose pointed out. However, the authorities of a social media platform could be held liable if any defamatory posts were not removed even after request from the affected party or enforcement agencies.
"To my knowledge, while I was in service there was no instance of authorities of social media platforms being held liable for any defamatory posts,” Mr. Punnoose said. Meanwhile, in case of malicious campaigns on social media, administrators of social media groups from which campaigns originate could be also made liable. “In many cases, administrators of social media groups are arraigned for any malicious contents posted by any member of the group,” said a cyber police inspector.