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Facebook’s Government Requests Report Shows That India Leads In Terms Of Content Censorship

Facebook released its second Government Requests Report today and it shows that the Indian Government has been making a significant amount of requests for blocking content on the website. The report has data from two separate time period: July to December, 2013 and January to June, 2013.

The dataset between July to December, 2013 shows that India made 3958 total requests to Facebook. These requests target 4711 users/accounts. Facebook complied 53.56% of the requests. However, they state that ‘some data’ was produced instead of complete compliance on that published figure.

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Besides these, Facebook also disclosed that 4765 pieces of content were restricted by law enforcement officials and the India Computer Emergency Response Team due to local laws which do not allow criticism of a religion or state.

Facebook General Counsel, Colin Stretch put out a statement,

“Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share, and to make the world more open and connected. Sometimes, the laws of a country interfere with that mission, by limiting what can be shared there. When we receive a government request seeking to enforce those laws, we review it with care, and, even where we conclude that it is legally sufficient, we only restrict access to content in the requesting country.

We do not remove content from our service entirely unless we determine that it violates our community standards. We take a similar approach to government requests for account information. When we receive a request for information, we carefully assess whether we are legally required to comply. As we have long emphasized, we push back on requests that are overly broad, vague or do not comply with legal standards. When we are required to provide information, in most instances we share basic information only – such as name and IP address.”

There seems to be quite a bit of friction between nation states and social networking sites and this can only escalate. Social Media companies like Facebook have massive volumes when it comes to users and data. Due to this, governments are feeling threatened about control that is slipping from their hands when it comes to managing the flow of information. As more Indian users get onto Facebook due to the rise in mobile internet usage, the number of requests will escalate and India, if it continues its current policies, could soon be looked at as a digital rights opponent.

Source | Facebook

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