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FIR filed against GitHub-made ‘Sulli Deals’ app after several Muslim women harassed online

Following uproar on social media, the app was taken down by the software development platform GitHub. 

An FIR was lodged by a woman on Tuesday against unknown persons for allegedly circulating pictures of several Muslim women without their consent on the GitHub-based application ‘Sulli Deals’. In the FIR, IPC Section 509 (word or act intended to outrage the modesty of a woman) and Sections 66 (stealing information from a computer, computer system, network) and 67 (publishing obscene information) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 have been invoked.

Widespread outrage

Responding to the outrage against the app on Twitter, GitHub COO Erica Brescia on Monday tweeted that the account had been suspended.  According to The Quint, the app presented photos of Muslim women and their Twitter handles when a user clicked to find the ‘Sulli deal of the day’.

Speaking to MediaNama, the complainant said that she was extremely shocked and angry. “This shouldn’t outrage only Muslim women, but all women everywhere,” she said. According to the FIR, which was filed at Noida’s Sector 24 Police Station, due to the app and the ensuing circulation of screenshots of her photos on Twitter, the complainant was humiliated and threatened with rape. A copy of the FIR has been viewed by MediaNama.

Swati Maliwal, the chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, also wrote a letter to the Deputy Commissioner, Cyber Cell of the Delhi Police yesterday demanding information about action that had been taken on the matter.

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Trend of gendered harassment online

Last week, Facebook, Google, TikTok, and Twitter made commitments at the UN Generation Equality Forum in Paris to tackle online abuse of women on their platforms. According to a Web Foundation survey in 2020, 52% of young women and girls globally had experienced abuse online. Further, a 2019 Amnesty International India report had found that while 13.8 percent of all tweets women politicians receive were problematic or abusive, that figure shot up by 94.1 percent when the figure was also a Muslim.

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I cover health technology for MediaNama, among other things. Reach me at anushka@medianama.com

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