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It was also reported that almost 10,000 cases were filed from November 2020 to June 2021 and all the complaints are filed either by a women or cyber support team on behalf of the harassed person. Over 25% of the complaints are related to fake profiles where the offenders used pictures of victims for operating a fake profile and the pictures were also used in an abusive way.

As we merge more with technology because of the pandemic situation, using social media platforms to communicate with friends, attend online classes and so on, is very important. Many minor girls who are not aware of such offences relating to social media are also getting involved in such things. Ignorantly, they are sharing their photos and other information which leads to their being harassed. They even don’t know how to share such things with their parents and others.

Another reason behind social harassment is ignorance of social media’s privacy settings. Perpetrators may collect their pictures and use them in an abusive ways through fake profiles. They can post unwanted contents as status and indecent pictures as well. Most of the time, the perpetrators send sexually explicit messages and videos through Messenger.

Security teams take action against such offences relating to cybercrime. Different legal provisions also protect the public in general from social media harassment. Offenders are punishable under Information and Communication Technology Act, 2006. Section 24 of the Digital Security Act, 2018 prescribes that if any person holds the identity of another person with an intention to cheat, he shall be punished with imprisonment not more than 5 years or a fine not exceeding Tk 500,000 or both.

If any person posts any indecent content or post through another’s profile, he shall be punished with imprisonment not more than 3 years or fine not exceeding Tk 300,000 or both under Section 25 of the Digital Security Act, 2018. Along with the legal provisions, social media is also providing strong security to its users in recent updates.

Social awareness is the most important thing to address offences related to social media harassment. Circulation of proper social awareness among the public in general might be effective to reduce the rate of cybercrimes i.e. hacking different profiles, blackmailing and so on. Restrictions should be applied on using social media and parents should keep their eyes open. Using technology is essential in this era of digitalization but users should think of the consequences also. They need to keep themselves at a distance from the negative sides of the social media.

Children not even 15 years old are using social media and many of them also have a number of fake accounts. Parents must restrict them from overuse of social media and make them aware of such things.

Along with the legal provisions, social awareness is the most basic way to control the rate of social media harassment. It is essential to ensure the actual implementation of legal provisions and implementing the laws and other rules might be the best way to protect individuals from social media harassment.

* Md. Mahabub Ul Alam Khan is a student of Law at Daffodil International University

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