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The Fated Divergence and Limited Inclusion of Law from Social Media


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Written By: Abhivardhan


Law has been a special institution for specific matters of widening and floating constraints in a mediocre, a sovereign entity and its organizations and other realms of human instruments throughout. In addition, Social Media is just an imagery of that relevance, which is flirted with the eyes of reality to describe what and how things assuredly move on. Jurisprudence in its own virtue of applicability has been a lot of away from the widening aspects of social media. However, it is by the virtue of a mediating wave of ‘soft power’, which tempted the sovereigns to question the relevance of their destiny of dominance, which they embark upon as such. Facebook has been the biggest beneficiary of that. However, there must exist a matter of concurrence and convergence, which social media as now a picture and orchestra of self-determination and individual representative privacy. The author thus has tried to focus on the basic realities of jurisprudence that base the law so as to question the relevant displacements that social media and law can make out themselves, whether is it at any level.


Social Media is the realm of people representation, which is now served with more intrinsic and special transparencies, which is by the virtue of a cyber realm, hereby giving us the wider application of our differentiated and distributed self-determination.  Technology began to change very rapidly in the 20th Century. After the first super-computers were created in the 1940s, scientists and engineers began to develop ways to create networks between those computers, and this would later lead to the birth of the Internet.[1] In this way, we went through a different journey, an own story being scripted, where the law itself was accepting the push that society and the International Community has been constantly endeavoring for years. Sites like MySpace and LinkedIn gained prominence in the early 2000s, and sites like Photobucket and Flickr facilitated online photo sharing. YouTube came out in 2005, creating an entirely new way for people to communicate and share with each other across great distances.[2]  By 2006, Facebook and Twitter both became available to users throughout the world. These sites remain some of the most popular social networks on the Internet. Other sites like Tumblr, Spotify, Foursquare and Pinterest began popping up to fill specific social networking niches[3]. Law is sometimes made so divergent before it has to put on the shoes of reality, when writers limit social media to a matter of intervention and responsibility only by stating things like “social media crosses national boundaries, global legal concerns, not addressed in this brief comment, must be considered in practice[4]”, “It’s easy to post an opinion or joke online. But that one tweet or Facebook status can reach an audience far beyond what was expected or intended. And if you say the wrong thing, you could face severe legal consequences[5]” and “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[6]” concerned with the laws of defamation and IPR. Well, law, in its presumed and evident boundaries, has its own priorities, which make up the essence of reasonability. However, it is still not about the matter of reasonability. It is about the realm of the basic understanding of every human instrument’s privacy, which makes it up. Hence, the divergence between social media and law in its basic mediums can be removed by making a bridge of understandable and recognized privacy of a human instrument, which makes up the better convergence and concurrence of expression and relevance.

Privacy, The Bridge between Social Media and Law

Privacy, as the general concept of human and civil rights, from its very origins, is deemed to be sometimes in the law of tort[7] and into the realm of representation of heterogeneity against the presumed or forced homogeneity[8]. However, if this is true, then still both of them turn out to be rather theoretical rather than applicative in reality. A philosophical approach towards understanding privacy is necessary, but there must exist a general bridging or a special outlook, which may we perceive out of the necessitated understanding present. Thus, it is necessary for us to realize how we can make up the bridge. Here is a special case arising out of criminal nature and its intimate relation to social media.

Danny Kay was accused of rape in 2013. A key piece of evidence was a social media conversation between Kay and his accuser, in which he appeared to be apologizing for[9] non-consensual sex. Kay maintained that the conversation shown to the jury was incomplete, but he believed the full conversation had been deleted and could not be retrieved. Fortunately for him, a fellow inmate convinced Kay that the conversation could be recovered. Kay’s sister-in-law logged in to his account and found an archived version of the messages in just a few minutes. Mr. Kay challenged his conviction, which the Court of Appeal in London overturned, finding that the full exchange supported Mr. Kay’s version of the story.  An interesting twist on the facts in the Kay case could arise through the use of a newer form of social media—apps that cause their messages to “self-destruct.”[10]

Now, this case is indeed important because it covers some important aspects for us to understand other than related to criminal intent and law.

  • The expression is not a simple and single dimension now. It is evolving to exist as a simultaneously periodically phasing form of representation of one’s privacy. It manifests not only merely a set of communication; it is a general progression of realm itself.
  • Social Media is criminalized for evidence and conviction purposes, but it does not make any sense because if there would not have been this case and there had been a normal case, then this would have been a mere infringement of informational privacy.

Now, this is a pure matter of question- why do we need the understandability of Privacy always? We do need it because there is a simple couple of reasons. The first reason is a rather theoretical one, based on Thomson’s reductionism, which explicitly states that Privacy is a cluster of many rights and the second one is a realist and applied one, based on contingencies and social realm. Hence, in the end, what we require is that Privacy, as a multi-dimensional reality other than being a two-dimensional liberty, is subjected to being limited, which should never happen. So, yes, there is a scope that we require. However, it depends on us to keep a note on how we define our own truths in Social Media.


[1] Hendricks, Drew (May 8, 2013). Complete History of Social Media: Then And Now. Retrieved February 12, 2018 from

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Reid, Brad (March 3, 2016, 03:05 pm ET; Updated Mar 04, 2017). Ways Social Media Impacts Law. Retrieved February 12, 2018 from

[5] The Guardian, (August 12, 2016). Social media law: an essential guide. Retrieved February 12, 2018 from

[6] Find Law, Understanding the Legal Issues for Social Networking Sites and Their Users. Retrieved February 12, 2018 from

[7] R. Rajagopal vs State of T.N., 1995 AIR 264; See Mr. ‘X’ vs Hospital ‘Z’, 1998 Supp (1) SCR 723; People’s Union of Civil Liberties… vs Union of India (UOI) and Anr., AIR 1997 SC 568;

[8] Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) and Anr. Vs Union of India and Ors., WP(C) No.494 of 2012.

[9] Keeble Madison (January 23, 2018). Snap out of it: the resurrection of “self-destructing” social media evidence. Retrieved February 12, 2018 from

[10] Ibid.

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