Flood of complaints over abusive Facebook posts

Flood of complaints overabusive Facebook posts

Police have, over the past year, received close to 100 complaints against abusive posts on Facebook.

The complaints are filed when the messages get personal and dirty, says a senior policeman at the cyber crime police station.

They are usually posted from fake accounts, making it almost impossible for the police to track down the offenders.

"Friendships are formed on Facebook. The chats get intimate and pictures are exchanged. These chats are later used for blackmail," he says.

Sometimes, the personal details are used to tarnish reputations, says the officer.

It is not just individuals who are victims of abusive messages on Facebook, but also companies.

"An ex-employee can create a fake account and post defamatory messages about the company and the management," he explains. The trigger for such crimes ranges from jealousy to lust to unrequited love.

"In some cases, men fall in love with their friends' wives and start sending abusive messages on Facebook. They also post dirty messages about the women to create a rift between the couple," says the officer.

Most complaints are from rich and influential families, he notes.

Watch who you befriend

Do not accept friend requests from strangers.
Do not share personal details.
Avoid intimate chats.
Don't give away personal pictures.
In case of harassment, don't delay filing a  complaint.

What's the punishment?

It depends on the section of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) under which the case is booked. "The fine could range from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 3 lakh. The punishment could also include imprisonment of up to seven years," says a senior policeman.  If the offender has used a real Facebook account, he is charged under a single section of the IPC. If a fake account is used, multiple sections come into play, he says.

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