Malvika Advani 12 Apr 2019



Nowadays, many people are becoming a part of social media by signing up for profiles for the purpose of building connects. Some have as low as a handful of friends or followers while some crave for having thousands of them.

Social media is a very good platform for outsourcing one's knowledge, news etc. provided that it is used only in the rightful manner. But there exist a part of the population who create fake profiles to spam legitimate users by posting illegal or inappropriate content.  Such motive may be derived from personal reasons (grudges) or a mental sickness to harass the known persons.

The most used social media platform are

·         Facebook

·         Twitter

·         Instagram

·         LinkedIn


Types of Social Media Crimes

The following are the prevalent forms of social media crimes

1. Online Threats, Stalking, Cyber bullying

This is the most commonly reported crime which involves people making threats, bullying, harassing and stalking other person's social media profile. there is no as such punishment for this act, so the victims keep silent, instead of approaching the police..

2. Hacking and Fraud

The technical definition of hacking is the gaining of unauthorized access to data in a system or computer. Thus, logging into a friend's account and posting something embarrassing just for fun, can actually turn out to be a criminal activity. Apart from this, creating fake account to trick people can also be made punishable.

3. Buying Illegal Things

Social media has proved to be a very good platform for the businessmen/women. Those whose pocket doesn't allow them to conduct newspaper or radio advertisements, can do so by creating an online portal on their social media profiles. But, with the advancement of technology, it is the customers who have to be very careful while purchasing any good or service from such people as most of the time it is the quality that suffers. Also, connecting over social media to buy drugs, or other regulated, controlled or banned products is probably illegal.

4. Posting Videos of Criminal Activity

The smartphone and social media have started growing hand in hand. This gives courage to the criminals to post a video of them carrying out the criminal or illegal activities. For example, in today's world, many people who commit suicide, post a video message and the whole procedure they adopted to carry out the illegal act of suicide. This may prove useful to the Authorities for catching the main person behind the suicide, but at the same time it encourages many more to do the same.

5. Vacation Robberies

Though not actually a social media crime, but vacation robberies is one of the budding concepts. If you vacation updates are public on your social media accounts, then the burglars may find a very good opportunity to raid your house and commit theft.


Preventive Measures/Precautions

The following preventive measures can be taken against being a victim of cyber crime

1. Blocking profiles from public searches.

2. Restricting who can find you through online search.

3. Limiting your details on social media platforms, unless it is a necessity to do so.

4. Logging out of the accounts after each session.

5. Not sharing social media credentials with anyone, whosoever it be. (exception: with the police and persons in Authority for investigative purposes)

6. Not accepting friend requests from unknown persons.

7. Not clicking on suspicious links. (example: exciting offers on e-commerce website links)

8. Keeping the privacy settings of your social media profile at the most restricted levels, especially for public/others.

9. Remembering that information scattered over multiple posts, photographs, status, comments etc. may together reveal enough about you to enable a fraudster to steal your identity and defraud you.


Judicial Approach to Crimes committed on Social Media Platform

1. The State (Cyber Cell) v. Yogisha @ Yogesh Pandurang Prabhu r/o. Vashi

The Bombay Court sentenced the accused simple imprisonment for three months as he had by electronic means on social media transmitted the petitioner's pictures. He was charged under Section 66E.

2. State of A.P. v. State of A.P.

In this case, the website and research reports were hacked. It was alleged that the accused had downloaded various e-Reports through some free public sites. The Hyderabad Court found the accused guilty under Sec.66 of Information Technology Act 2000 and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for 2 years along with a fine of Rs. 10,000/-. If he defaulted in making the payment, he would undergo simple imprisonment for a term of 6 months.



We make our lives public by sharing everything with the people on our accounts. Most of the cyber crimes are either done by fraudsters or by someone you know in the close circle. It could be your friend, relative, employee, colleague, your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend. So, it is essential for you to set your privacy settings at the most restricted levels and in a way that the persons you are not connected with can see the least of your details. So, apply maximum caution while sharing anything online.

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