Facebook restricted access to 5,832 pieces of content in India during the second half of 2014 (July- Dec 2014), the highest among all the countries in the world, according to the global transparency report released by the social network.
According to Facebook, most of the blocked content was requested to be blocked primarily by law enforcement agencies and the India Computer Emergency Response Team within the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. The reasons for these takedowns were vague, all “anti-religious content and hate speech that could cause unrest and disharmony” was blocked.
The company did not disclose more specific information on which government agencies sent these requests, how many of these requests were backed by court orders or the reason for these requests either. It’s also not clear as to how many requests were actually sent by these government agencies, although Facebook mentions that “each and every request we receive is checked for legal sufficiency” or is rejected.
Globally, Turkey came in a distant second with 3,624 pieces of content restricted, followed by Germany with a mere 60 restricted content pieces.
India ranks 2nd in account information requests
India ranks second in the world, behind the US, in terms of the total Facebook accounts for which governments have requested information during this period.
Overall, the Indian government sent 5,473 requests seeking information for a total of 7,281 accounts on Facebook in the second half of 2014, an increase from 4,559 requests seeking information on 5,958 accounts in the first half of the year. Facebook complied with 44.69% of these requests, where it provided ‘some’ user data to the government.
Globally, Facebook received 35,051 requests seeking information on 50,236 accounts across 87 countries. The US continues to be at the top with 14,274 requests on 21,731 accounts and 79.14% compliance.
Limited transparency: In November last year, the Facebook page of the controversial ‘Kiss of Love‘ protest was blocked along with the profile pages of all 15 administrators and a related Facebook group Free Thinkers’. The page was subsequently reinstated, however Facebook did not provide any information as to why the page was blocked in the first place and then later reinstated. It’s possible that Facebook reinstated this page following public outcry which raises another question as to what about the Facebook pages that were blocked when there was no public outcry? More on this here.