Mrz Thoppi not lone bad apple in cyberspace

Call for stringent regulations against social media personalities posting toxic content
YouTuber ‘Mrz Thoppi’
YouTuber ‘Mrz Thoppi’

KOCHI:   The case registered against YouTuber ‘Mrz Thoppi’ for allegedly making obscene remarks has intensified the call for introducing strong regulations on the publishing of content on social media platforms.

According to experts, an immediate solution is required as teenagers form the lion’s share of followers of such YouTubers and social media influencers who post obscene content.

Nihad alias Mrz Thoppi, a Kannur native, is an online gamer. His love for gaming prompted him to start a YouTube channel under the name ‘Mrz Thoppi’ and he subsequently established a strong presence with 6.96 lakh subscribers, most of them young adults. 

It is alleged that he won the sympathy of children by sharing his traumatic childhood experience and family stigma. However, his real nature apparently emerged when he was booked for singing an obscene song and creating a traffic block at Valanchery during the inauguration of a garment shop. A huge crowd comprising teenagers had gathered at the spot to hear the YouTuber.

Interestingly, another complaint against Nihad was lodged before the state police chief seeking to book him under the IT Act, as well as the Pocso Act and the IPC. Edappally resident Siby Thomas, the complainant, alleged that those aged between 15 and 16 formed the majority of the crowd at a programme attended by Nihad in Edappally recently. 

Siby alleged Nihad was spreading toxic and obscene content among adults on social media, thereby misleading the young generation. The complainant said Nihad should be booked for anti-national activities as he insulted Mahatma Gandhi in one of his videos. The complaint was transferred to the city police commissioner for further action. 

Cyber police officers said there are several such YouTubers, Vloggers or Instagram influencers active on social media propagating content that is obscene and anti-children. Nanda Kishore, a cyber security analyst, opined that such acts continue in cyberspace as there are no strong regulations for publishing of content. “In a country like India, content penetration on social media is higher than in any other place. We have to amend our laws to combat this,” he said.

Jiyas Jamal, lawyer, cyber expert, and founder of Cyber Suraksha Foundation, echoed similar sentiments. “Presently, action is initiated under IT Act. However, there is no regulation on the creation and propagation of content via YouTube and similar platforms. The Union government is formulating the Digital India Act. Its enforcement will result in strict regulation of content,” he said.

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The New Indian Express