In a move to prevent children from getting abused through social media, the Delhi High Court has asked world's largest social networking site Facebook to put a disclaimer on its homepage saying that kids below 13 years of age cannot open accounts on Facebook.
"You (Facebook) can write on the home page in bold letters that children below 13 are not allowed. There is no harm in doing this," the court said. A division bench comprising acting chief justice BD Ahmed and justice Vibhu Bakhru directed Facebook to ban children under the age of 13 from signing up on the site. Senior advocate Parag Tripathi, who appeared for Facebook assured the court that the site will upload the disclaimer on its home page.
The court also asked the central government to specify as to what law it has for online security of children and preventing them from getting abused through social networking sites. Besides, the judges asked the government to mend provisions in the law regarding minors using social networking sites.
The court said that the world has gone way ahead, and we (Indians) are way behind in terms of protecting children from getting abused through social media sites.
It asked the government to specify the age at which children can use social networking sites such as Facebook? The government counsel informed the court that in the US, 13 years is the minimum age for children to use social networking sites.
The judges made these observations while hearing a public interest litigation filed by former Bharatiya Janata Party ideologue KN Govindacharya.
According to the petition, children below 18 getting into an agreement with social networking sites to open an account is against the Indian Majority Act, the Indian Contract Act and also the Information and Technology Act.
Facebook disclosed early this year that its monthly active users (MAUs) in India had increased 54 per cent to 71 million as of December 31, 2012. Various estimates peg the number of internet users in the country at 100-150; the social media site has managed to hook over half of the internet users in the country.