To what extent social media platforms be held liable?

To what extent social media platforms be held liable?

In this technological era everyone is connected on social media and we all are very much active on which ,we share a lot of things on social media platforms from our daily lives but to what extent we are liable for legal claims, what are limits on social media and what are the legal obligations that arise out of the use of social networks, both for the user and the sites themselves has been discussed in this article.


The two most important statutes to consider when discussing the legal liabilities and obligations of the social networking sites are section 512 (c) of the Digital millennium copyright act and sec 230 of the Communications decency Act.

♦ SECTION 512:

This section removes liability for copyright infringement from websites that allows users to post content as long as the site has a mechanism in place whereby the copyright owner can request the removal of infringing content. The site must also not receive a financial benefit directly attributable to the infringing activity. This creates problem for most sites that allow users to post music, photos or more video.

♦ SECTION 230:

This section immunizes website from certain liability resulting from the publication of information provided by another. This usually arises in the context of defamation, privacy, negligence, and other tort claims. It does not however, cover criminal liability, copyright infringement or other intellectual property claims. Thus, if a user posts defamatory or otherwise illegal content, section 230 shields the social network provider from certain liability arising out of the publication.


Social networking users don’t enjoy any of the immunities granted to social networking sites under the law, so they should be careful to always act appropriately when posting messages or files to the sites. The main areas where users can get themselves into trouble are through the posting of defamatory content or content that infringes on intellectual property rights. If a user is found to have posted defamatory content, the user will be liable, even if the site can escape liability under section 230. Similarly if a user posts material that infringes on another’s copyright, the user will face liability for the infringement, despite the site’s potential safe harbour under sec 512.

There are many cases around happening for the defamation, hate speeches etc on social media platforms like Facebook, twitter, Youtube etc therefore it is the responsibility of both the user of social media and of the platforms to take care of this matter.


Article By- Arushi Agrawal

Editing By- Jasleen Kaur

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