Facebook Reveals: India Tops the List of Government Requests for Restricting Access to Content

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In an interesting revelation made by Facebook in the 3rd Edition of its Global Government Requests Report, India tops the list (outside of the United States) for the most Government requests to restrict public access to the content on the social media portal. This edition of the Global Report relates to the monitoring requests made during the period of January to June, 2014 and can be accessed here.

As a matter of policy, the social media giant restricts access to information upon requests from Government agencies. These requests primarily are against hate-content, that is any content that promulgates the feeling of hatred and enmity among people. Facebook in the report states “we respond to valid requests relating to criminal cases. Each and every request we receive is checked for legal sufficiency and we reject or require greater specificity on requests that are overly broad or vague”.

Nothing surprising in this, India with its over 100 million users, has the largest user base for Facebook, outside of the United States of America. The India-centric highlights of the report are: “Country Requests for User Data User Accounts Referenced Percentage of requests where some data produced Content Restrictions India 4,559 5,958 50.87% 4960”

These requests by the Indian Government agencies have been made over a span of merely 6 months, beginning January2014. To access the complete report for India for the first 6 months of the year please here. Furthermore, the report also throws light in the fact that the access was restricted upon the content being reported primarily by law enforcement officials and the India Computer Emergency Response Team under local laws prohibiting criticism of a religion or the state.

There has been a significant rise un the number of such requests by the Indian enforcement agencies. Comparing the present numbers to those of July-December 2013, there has been a rise of around 26%. The numbers have risen by around 40% when compared with the figures for January-June 2013. Speaking about the global scenario, an increase of about 24% has been recorded in the number of requests received by Facebook. Out of such requests the amount of content restricted has gone up by around 19% viz-a-viz the previous report for July-December 2013.

A lawyer by profession, dealing primarily with the technology, media and telecom (TMT) laws, concerning the Indian jurisdiction, advising on various aspects of telecom licenses, data protection and gaming regulations. Apart from the TMT laws, also deal with the trademarks and general commercial laws.

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