File | Photo Credit: AFP
The Indian government’s requests for user data from Facebook increased nearly 37% in the first half of 2019, and at 22,684 queries, was the second highest globally, according to the Transparency Report of the U.S.-based social networking site.
In comparison, Facebook received 16,580 requests in the January-June 2018 period and 20,805 requests during July-December that year. Of the 22,684 data requests, Facebook said it had produced some data in 54% of cases. “Facebook responds to government requests for data in accordance with applicable law and our terms of service. Each and every request we receive is carefully reviewed for legal sufficiency and we may reject or require greater specificity on requests that appear overly broad or vague,” the company said.
Globally, it received 1,28,617 such requests from governments. Of these, Facebook produced some data for 73.6% of cases. The US government submitted the maximum number of 50,714 requests for details of 82,461 Facebook users/accounts during the first half of the current year. The US was followed by India, whose 22,684 requests were for 33,324 users/accounts, the UK (7,721 requests for 10,550 user/accounts), Germany (7,302 requests on 9,800 users/accounts) and France (5,782 requests for 6,961 users/accounts).
The report showed that during January-June 2019, Facebook had nearly 70 internet disruptions that affected its products in about 17 countries. India topped the list with 40 disruptions. However, as far as total duration of disruptions was concerned, India came in at number two with eight weeks, 2 days and 22 hours.
During the period reviewed, the social media giant also restricted access to 1,233 items of content, including 1,211 posts, two profiles, 19 pages and groups and one comment. “We permanently restricted access to content in India in response to legal requests from law enforcement agencies, court orders, and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology,” the company said.
The content restricted was alleged to have violated laws and primarily in the categories of hate speech, anti-religious content constituting incitement to violence, defamation, extremism, anti-government, and anti-state content. “We also restricted access to 217 items in response to private reports related to defamation,” it said. Temporary access restriction was applied to 448 items in response to reports received from the Election Commission of India alleging that the content was subject to election blackout periods.
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