In the latest development where another social media giant has been found hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus, a complaint has been filed against Instagram by a Delhi resident named Manish Singh. Reportedly, in the story section of the platform, a GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) of Lord Shiva could be seen with a wine glass in one hand and a mobile phone in the other hand with a smirk on the face. Naturally, the netizens were enraged at the portrayal of their holy deity in such a lewd manner.
— Shahcastic – Mota bhai 😎 (@shahcastic) June 8, 2021
The complainant claimed that the GIF had been created with the sole intention to hurt the Hindu community. The complainant also alleged that the “accused (Instagram) is deliberately and intentionally hurting the feeling and sentiments of the millions and millions of Hindus, including the complainant, by portraying the Supreme God, Lord Shiva, in such a state.”
Consequently, Mr Manish demanded that a criminal case be registered against the CEO of Instagram and other officials under sections 153 and 295A of the Indian Penal Code and relevant sections of the Information Technology Act.
The Facebook-owned platform has been involved in several controversies lately. Reported by TFI, Instagram had deleted a fact check post by Press Information Bureau (PIB) without doing its due diligence.
An image allegedly quoting a French Nobel Laureate on #COVID19 vaccines is circulating on social media
— PIB Fact Check (@PIBFactCheck) May 25, 2021
The fact-checking arm of PIB dismantled the claims made by one French Nobel Laureate named Luc Montagnier that people would die two years after taking the vaccine by sharing a post on all social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram.
However, Facebook and Instagram, which claim to have top-level, highly qualified fact-checkers and moderators in their team, failed to rein in the fake news circulated on the platform and instead deleted the PIB post which tried to clear the air of rumour-mongering.
Reported by TFI, social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, and Twitter run the risk of losing their status as “intermediaries” and may become liable for criminal action if they do not comply with the revised regulations. While Facebook, WhatsApp and Google have seemingly complied with the IT laws, Twitter has been served the final notice by the government of India to enlist its compliance officer as well as appoint a company employee as grievance officer and a nodal contact person.
With a grievance officer in place, the government and the authorities, along with the users can hold Instagram more efficiently for the lewd GIF case, which otherwise would have been referred to the US officials of the company.