meta: We are private, user cannot invoke free speech rights: Meta | India News


NEW DELHI: Social media company Meta Platforms, Inc – the parent company of popular platforms Instagram and Facebook – claimed in the Delhi High Court that the rights under Article 19 (freedom of speech) of the Indian Constitution cannot be invoked against it by a user since it is a private entity which does not exercise a public function.
In an affidavit filed in response to a petition against the deactivation of an Instagram account, the US-based company said that the “Instagram service is a free and voluntary platform” governed by a private contract and that the petitioning user “has no fundamental right to use”. this”.
The High Court is hearing several motions challenging the suspension and deletion of several user accounts by various social media platforms. Meta argued that it is not obligated to perform a “public duty” and that when an action is brought against a user pursuant to the private contract between them, it results in a “contractual dispute between two private parties”.
Whether its enforcement actions were improper is governed by Instagram’s Terms of Service and Community Guidelines, which constitute the private contract, and Meta is therefore not subject to the written jurisdiction of the HC. under Section 226 of the Constitution, the social media giant said.
“The Claimant’s attempt to have this Honorable Court invoke its jurisdiction in writs is particularly inappropriate because the relationship between the Claimant and Meta arises out of private contract and the alleged dispute at issue is contractual, and the rights of Article 19 cannot be asserted against a private entity such as Meta,” the affidavit states.
He argued that the “attempt to assert Section 19 rights against Meta, a private entity, is improper, contrary to law, and must be denied… Meta is not performing a public duty which would make her subject to the order of this honorable court of jurisdiction under section 226.
“The petitioner has not alleged a single fact demonstrating that the Instagram service, or Meta itself, satisfies any of the above (public service) tests,” he said.
On the contrary, he said: “Meta is not required to hold public office, the government has no control over the management of Meta or its day-to-day operations, and Meta has not obtained any exclusive rights to carry on any activity.” The affidavit adds that Meta has not been granted monopoly status under the statute, that the company does not perform any function similar or closely related to functions performed by the state in its sovereign capacity, and that Meta voluntarily provides the Instagram service, and is not obligated to do so.

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