Confession pages on the social networking site Facebook has become a synonym of terror. It not only creates nuisance in individual's personal or social life but also to the corporate entities and institutions.
These pages have been started to provide space for fun, amusement and exchanging, sharing, asking suggestions, support, encouragement devoid of any hesitation and without revealing the identity of the confessor. This latest trend of social media has started showing ugly face by spreading rumors, maliciously defaming anyone, tantalizing, inducing and abating to do something unethical and unlawful.
Any one who uses the internet can openly access and see those confessions and post any material howsoever inappropriate & derogatory to an individual or anyone or anything, without even creating an account on Facebook or any where else for that matter.
On confession pages people are putting random confessionsrelating to individuals private details, abusing the teachers, employers, colleague, associate, neighbors, friends& girlfriends and malign their character, vulgar & illicit sexual experiences, alcoholism, drugs addiction & related feelings or any others thing which comes to their mind either directed to him/her or at specific individuals without having any substantive proof or evidence and any person who likes the confession can make any baseless comment either with identity or anonymously. Though sometimes these confession pages put certain conditions for posting the content but these conditions totally depend upon the discretion of the administrator (Also an unknown user) of the page who created it to publish or post it or not.
Given the no. of users on Facebook, which stands at 1.06 billion monthly active users,any unsubstantiated, obscene, communal or hatred, racial post going viral on the web creates havoc in the society in general and in life of the individual in particular which have devastating effect to one’s self esteem and whole personality. Not to count bringing disrepute and discredit to an entity name or brand.
The main targets of this social media application are women and teenagers specially girls. It encourages cyber bulling & online harassment which leads to stalking on web and many times it is misused to ostracize the individuals.
However, there are mechanisms in the Facebook through which any person who feels aggrieved by the content can report to Facebook but they would block only when it violates their term of services. It is quite possible that not the whole contents of page but just the post which is objectionable, so in that case Facebook will not block the page even though that particular post cause serious embarrassment to a sensitive person or his or family.
Even if Facebook agrees to block the pages or block it, it is easily replaceable or can be created again with different name as there are no such restrictions on it. So, Facebook’s solution is not feasible to stop this menace from spreading to reach its zenith.
If a person approaches to any enforcement agency for relief & remedy in case of public wrong or injury, it is difficult to locate and prosecute the person as the whole process is cumbersome in the era of advance software & technology.
Confession pages are unofficial pages of any entity, institutions or individual, any one on the Facebook can create and operate anonymously without any privacy settings. For instance 'A' creates a confession page on Delhi High Court or Supreme Court of India and admirer of pages start posting derogatory remarks or comment on sub-judice matter or any objectionable comments on the court proceedings, Judge or Advocates anonymously. Will it not shake the confidence of parties & general public in judiciary? Or erode the dignity of Courts in India? The answer to this question is yes!!
It is not a futuristic assumption that confession posts can encourage any sensitive individuals to commit suicide and crime given the nature of post and its effect on individual.
Confession pages are violating Article 19(1) as there is fine distinction between freedom of speech & expression and to portray anyone in the wrong picture with consciously maligning reputation before right thinking members of society. The frontiers of freedom of speech and expression have some restriction but the confession pages undermine the freedom of speech and expression which are underpinning of human rights and democratic freedom. It is important to restrict individuals holding specific belief and forming opinion which amounts to advocating hatred against individuals.
At the same time confession pages are also violating Article 21 of very citizens of our country as unverified and unsubstantiated posts and comments assaults upon the rudiments of dignity by insulting, hated and maligning against individual who have some social eminence, since dignity furnishes decent treatment and respect in the society. Moreover, these confession pages and postsviolates right to privacy as well.
So, the need of hour is to nip the devil in the bud by means of the instrumentality of law as the scope of these confession pages is not just limited to psychological or social but also to the political or economic spheres and can cause crumble to the social structure of the society.