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facebookThe Delhi High Court Friday asked Google and Facebook to inform it about their mechanism to deal with complaints, including misuse of social networking sites by children below 13 years of age.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bakhru asked the social networking site and the search engine to appraise it about the procedure they follow to deal with complaints and posted the matter Aug 23.

The court’s direction came on a PIL filed by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader K.N. Govindacharya alleging that the websites have no mechanism for protection of children from online abuse.

The bench also asked the sites to hand over at least one complaint with regard to minors having accounts on such websites.

Advocate Virag Gupta, appearing for the petitioner, was also asked by the court to give a complaint to the information technology ministry who will then forward it to Facebook and Google Inc, which also runs social networking site Orkut.

Meanwhile, the bench also expressed its displeasure after the social networking sites told the court that they cannot display on its home page a statement that children below 13 are not allowed to open an account on these social networking sites.

The counsel for Google Inc told the court that the website is being governed by American law the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and it cannot display the statement in the home page as the Indian IT law and the rules also did not mandate it to do so.

The plea had said that children below 18 years are getting into an agreement with the social networking sites to open accounts which is against the Indian Majority Act, the Indian Contract Act and also the Information and Technology Act.


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