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India Tops Facebook’s List Of Content Restriction Request By Government

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Continuing its trend, Facebook has today released its Global Government Request Report. And while intolerance and government censorship continues to be a debatable issue ever since the current Modi Government has taken the reins, it might just get fuelled a bit more.

As per Facebook’s latest report, India has made the highest number of content restriction requests by any Government globally — 15,155 from Faceboook in the first six months of this year.

The report is released as a part of the company’s effort to reform government surveillance in countries around the world by providing more transparency and insights to its users about how their respective governments are handling privacy.

The report covers 93 countries and encompasses the period from January to June this year. It shows that the U.S. continues to outstrip others, whereas India and the U.K. were second and third in that regard of requests.

Facebook continues to see an increase in content restrictions and government requests for data. The content restricted for violating local law increased by 112% over the second half of 2014 to 20,568 posts and other pieces of content, up from 9,707.

As per the report, India ranked second, after the US, in making user data requests from Facebook. US made 17,577 requests while India requested user data for 5,115 times. Facebook complied with 45.32% of the requests.

The latest report is also pretty much in sync with the data supplied by Facebook for the latter half of 2014, wherein requests for content restriction declined everywhere in the West, but so a massive increase in India. You can have a look at our detailed coverage of the same, here.

The 5,115 requests that the company received was for 6,268 users/accounts. The company responds to valid requests relating to criminal cases. Each and every request that Facebook receives is checked for legal sufficiency.

In the first six months of the company, Facebook blocked 20,568 pieces of content, up from 9,707 in the second half of 2014. Total account data requests from Government across the globe increased by 18% over the same period, from 35,051 requests to 41,214.

Commenting on Indian Governement Reports, the company said,

We restricted access in India to content reported primarily by law enforcement agencies and the India Computer Emergency Response Team within the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology because it was anti-religious and hate speech that could cause unrest and disharmony within India.

Since last two years, the company is regularly publishing report of requests for content restriction it receives from across the globe every six months.

In a post published on company’s website, Deputy General Counsel Chris Sonderby said,

We scrutinise each request we receive for legal sufficiency, whether from an authority in the U.S., Europe, or elsewhere. If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back hard and will fight in court, if necessary.

To protect people’s information, we will continue to apply a rigorous approach to every government request we receive. We’ll also keep working with partners in industry and civil society to push governments around the world to reform surveillance in a way that protects their citizens’ safety and security while respecting their rights and freedoms.


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