India asks Facebook to ban kids below 13 from opening account
- Ravi Mandalia
- On July 17, 2013
Facebook has been asked by the Delhi High Court to ban kids under 13 from opening an account on the social networking site and to upload a disclaimer on its home page stating that children below 13 years of age cannot open an account on the site.
The ruling was given by a division bench comprising of acting Chief Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bakhru on Tuesday. The court ruled “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….”
Parag Tripathi, senior advocate who appeared for Facebook, has assured the court that the social networking site “will upload the disclaimer on its home page that children 13 years cannot open the account”.
On the other hand the court also asked the government of India to provide information about the law that is in place for online protection of children against the abuse through social networking sites and what all provisions were present related to minor using social networking sites like Facebook. This particular question came up when the counsel representing government of India revealed that the legal age in US for using Facebook was 13 years.
The court asked, “In India what is the law for a minor to use Facebook? Is it 13, 16, 18 or no law? What is the requirement under Indian law for Facebook?”
The division bench lambasted the government for not having a “law for protection of minor on social networking sites”. The court said that Indian government was behind the time when the world had gone much ahead.
The court ruled its decision after hearing a plea filed through a public litigation by the main opposition party ideologue K.N. Govindacharya. The plea said that children below the age of 13 were allowed to open accounts on social networking sites including the likes of Facebook, which was illegal according to Indian laws. Lawyer Veerag Gupta, appearing for Govindacharya, told the court the incidents wherein children were involved in sex and smoking parity in Gurgaon was the latest outcome of non-compliance by Facebook.
Gupta told that hundreds of minors joined the party after they read about the party over on Facebook. He further added that companies like Google and Facebook didn’t have an email address through which misuse of their social networking site by minors can be reported.
Facebook revealed that it explicitly prohibits children under the age of 13 from registering on Facebook and using its services. Facebook added, “The condition forbids users from providing any false information on Facebook, creating an account for anyone other than him/herself without permission, or creating more than one personal account.”
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