30 Jun 2023 3:10 PM GMT
Social media has been used to manipulate political choices of voters, perniciously affecting the democratic setup of constitutional institutions, the Karnataka High Court observed on Friday.A single judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit said emergence of social media has changed the way in which people participate in the democratic process. "People increasingly rely on social media than...
Social media has been used to manipulate political choices of voters, perniciously affecting the democratic setup of constitutional institutions, the Karnataka High Court observed on Friday.
A single judge bench of Justice Krishna S Dixit said emergence of social media has changed the way in which people participate in the democratic process. "People increasingly rely on social media than their traditional counterparts to become aware of their surroundings and participate in discussions-political, economic or otherwise which may strengthen democracy,” he said, adding that the abuse of social media can therefore be antithetical to the democratic process.
The remarks were made while dismissing US-based microblogging platform Twitter's plea against account blocking orders issued by the Central government. It noted that the accounts so blocked by the government had disseminated "outrageous" content, some even relating to sovereignty & integrity of India, security of the State and public order.
Court said social media is highly susceptible to exploitation at the hands of organisations/entities and often leads to manipulation and fragmentation of society on the "tainted lines of political ideologies”. It remarked,
"Mass level psychological and intellectual manipulations are also perpetrated. Social networks have evolved into platforms for the generation & huge propaganda of fake news; this in turn empowers disruptive voices & ideologies with cascading effect.”
It cautioned that social media platforms hold the potential to alter civic engagement that may eventually "hijack democracy" by influencing the masses toward a particular way of thinking. "Social media has enabled a style of populist politics, which if left unregulated allows hate speech & virulent expressions to thrive in digital spaces,” it remarked.
Added to this, the Court said is the "lightning speed" with which any information on social media is disseminated, not just locally but even globally.
"The rise of polarising & divisive content has been a defining moment of modern politics, which is fed by dissemination of fake news, and such dissemination through social media among populations with low-to-no levels of critical digital literacy, is a big challenge. To this is added, another dangerous component namely, the labelling and trolling of disruptive voices,” Court said.
Case Title: TWITTER, INC v. UNION OF INDIA
Case No: WP 13710/2022
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 244