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Facebook content restriction in India dips, but still second highest in the world

Facebook content restriction in India dips, but still second highest in the world

NEW DELHI: Facebook blocked a total of 14,971 content pieces in India in the second half of 2015, the social networking site disclosed in its twice-annual transparency report on Thursday. Though the number of blocked items in India has reduced a bit from the earlier 5,115, the country still has the second highest blocked content in the world.

“We restricted access in India to categories of content in response to legal requests from government agencies, including law enforcement agencies. We also restricted access to content in categories these agencies have identified as illegal that have been brought to our attention by non-government entities, such as NGOs and members of the Facebook community,” Facebook said in its report disclosing the numbers.

However, the majority of content restriction was due to alleged anti-religious and hate speeches that could cause unrest and disharmony within India, Facebook informed.

Besides blocked content, the networking site also received the second highest number of government data requests in India. Facebook revealed that Indian government made 5,561 requests for user data in the period, while the US made 19,235 requests, the highest in the world.

Another major revelation of the report was that globally, government requests for account data increased by 13 per cent from 41,214 requests to 46,763. “Overall, we continue to see an increase globally in government requests for user data and content restrictions pursuant to local law,” Facebook’s Deputy General Counsel Chris Sonderby said. “The number of items restricted for violating local law increased over the first half of 2015, to 55,827 items, up from 20,568.”

However, Sonderby added that Facebook does not provide any government with “back doors” or direct access to people’s data.

“We scrutinise each request for user data we receive for legal sufficiency, no matter which country is making the request. If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back hard and will fight in court, if necessary.”