Facebook, Twitter Offer No Special Deal For Govt

Facebook, Twitter Offer No Special Deal For Govt

The government has told the Delhi High Court that its media wing and IT departments are using social media sites like Facebook and Twitter by entering into standard agreements and not any formal or separate deals.

The government has submitted before the high court that the agreements are “accepted” in ‘click and wrap’ mode wherein assent to the terms and conditions is given by clicking on an ‘OK’ or ‘agree’ button on a dialog box or pop-up window.

The submission has been made by Department of Electronics and Information Technology in an affidavit in which it has stated that the media wing of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was using Facebook, Twitter and YouTube platforms of social media for information dissemination.

“… The standard agreements for use of social media have been accepted in ‘click and wrap’ mode and no other formal or separate agreement was signed as a part of account creating process,” the department has said, while also placing before the court the current terms of service and privacy policy of YouTube.

The government had earlier placed before the court the standard agreement that it has with Facebook. The department said it too uses social media in the same manner as MHA’s media wing by agreeing to the terms and conditions in ‘click and wrap’ mode.

The affidavit has been filed in response to the court’s directions to place before it the contracts or agreements the government has with social media sites. The court had asked for the information while hearing a PIL by filed by former BJP leader K N Govindacharya who has raised questions on social media usage by the government.

Advocate Virag Gupta, appearing for Govindacharya, had earlier told the court that as per contracts the government has with these companies, it is “transferring/surrendering” all intellectual property rights of the data being uploaded.

Earlier, the court had observed it appeared that when anything was uploaded on social media sites, the websites got a licence to the intellectual property rights (IPR) of the content without paying any royalty and had asked the Center whether it was aware of this.

The court had also observed that when the government gives royalty-free licence to Facebook without anything in return, “it was akin to (giving) state largesse”. 

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