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As WhatsApp continues to face heat in India due to its controversial privacy policy, its parent company Facebook has released its latest Community Standards Enforcement Report, declaring that Facebook users were seeing a lesser amount of violent or graphic content and hate speech when compared to last year. Additionally, the latest Transparency report highlighted a 13.3% rise in requests from the Indian government for user data in the latter half of 2020.

The period between January and June 2020 witnessed 35, 560 requests for user data by the government, a number that increased to 40,300 for the period July-December 2020 – 37,865 were legal process requests while 2,435 were emergency disclosure requests. Additionally, data was produced for 52% of the requests for user data while data related to 62,754 users/accounts were requested during the same period.

“Facebook responds to government requests for data in accordance with applicable law and our terms of service. Each and every request we receive is carefully reviewed for legal sufficiency and we may reject or require greater specificity on requests that appear overly broad or vague,” Facebook’s latest Transparency Report read.

With the latest statistics, India ranks second globally, next only to the US, whose government had made 61,262 requests during the same period.

According to Facebook, access to 878 items in India was restricted in the latter half of 2020 because they had violated Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, including content against the security of the state and public order. In other countries, access to 54 items was restricted “in compliance with court orders”. “In response to an order from Justice Alexandre de Moraes of Brazil’s Supreme Court related to 12 profiles and Pages of supporters of Brazilian President Bolsonaro, we restricted access globally to this content, including in India,” Facebook said.

Facebook’s Community Standards Enforcement Report for Q1 2021 reported that the prevalence of nudity and sexual activity grew by 0.03-0.04% to 31.8 million, as opposed to 28.1 million in Q4 2020.

Users have been viewing a lesser amount of violence and graphic content, Facebook reported, and there was a drop in the prevalence of hate speech content as well (it was 0.05-0.06% in Q1 2021, that is, 5 to 6 views per 10, 000 views), something that can be attributed to Facebook’s strong stand against harassment. Facebook and other platforms have been wary of hate speech as well, which was one of the factors behind the recent storming of the US Capitol.

8.8 million pieces of bullying and harassment content were taken down by Facebook during Q1 2021 as well. While the internet is still not the safest space, the fact that social media giants like Facebook are taking responsibility and doing their best to protect their users is commendable.