Technology

SILICON VALLEY (Web Desk) – India leads the world in terms of content taken down for violating local laws, responsible for more than 73 per cent of all such content restrictions globally in the first six months of 2015, says a report published by Facebook.


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Facebook published its six-monthly report on insights into the number of government requests it receives for details of users’ Facebook accounts, as well as the number of pieces of content restricted for violating local law in countries around the world where it is accessible.

The report shows that such government requests for Facebook users’ data surged in the first half of 2015.

According to Facebook statistics, India had 15,155 pieces of content restricted – 160 per cent from 5,832 in the second half of 2014. In the last 12 months (June 2014 to June 2015), the number of Facebook users in India is up from 120 million to 190m.

At 1.55 billion users, more than a fifth of the world’s population comprises Facebook’s global user base, up from 1.4 billion in the second half of last year. This translates into a spike in monitory efforts of law enforcement agencies worldwide, who often seek IP addresses from Facebook following a suspicious online post.

According to Emirates247, government agencies also request a Facebook page being taken offline if its content could hurt cultural or religious sensitivity, endanger individuals or a group of people, or compromise national security, among other things.

“Overall, we continue to see an increase in content restrictions and government requests for data globally. The amount of content restricted for violating local law increased by 112 per cent over the second half of 2014, to 20,568 pieces of content, up from 9,707,” Chris Sonderby, Facebook’s Deputy General Counsel, said in a blog post.

Turkey follows India in terms of content restrictions, with 4,496 pages being taken down in the six-month period, followed by France (295 content restrictions).

“Government requests for account data increased across all countries by 18 per cent over the same period, from 35,051 requests to 41,214,” Sonderby noted.

The US tops the list of governments seeking details of users’ Facebook accounts, with 17,577 requests for users’ data and 26,579 user accounts referenced by the American government. Facebook says it complied with almost 80 per cent of such US government requests.

This is up from 14,274 requests for users’ data and 21,731 user accounts referenced by the American government in the previous six-month period (H2 2014).

India, with 5,115 requests for users’ data and 6,268 user accounts referenced is the next in line, but Facebook says it complied with less than half of such requests (45 per cent) by the Indian government.

Facebook reiterated that it “does not provide any government with back doors or direct access to people’s data”.

Sonderby said that the social media platform scrutinizes each request it receives for legal sufficiency, whether from an authority in the US, Europe, or elsewhere. “If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back hard and will fight in court, if necessary,” he said