If you were wondering why we need regulations for content takedown and information requests made to social media companies, here’s a reason. In its latest Transparency Report, social media giant Facebook, said it has received 40,300 requests for user data from the Indian government in the second half of 2020 alone. The number is 13.3 percent higher than the January-June 2020 period, in which the Indian government made 35,560 total requests. Facebook restricted access to 878 items in India during the second half of the year, in response to directives from the IT Ministry under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act.
Of the 40,300 total requests that Facebook got, 37,865 were legal process requests, while 2435 were emergency disclosure requests. India was ranked second in the world, behind the US, in terms of the number of government requests made to Facebook in the last half year. The US government made 61,262 requests during the July-December period. Government requests for user data also increased globally by about 10 per cent, to 191,013 in the second half of 2020, as compared to 173,592 in the first half of the year.
Further, a total of 62,574 requests for users/accounts were made in India, with some data produced by Facebook in 52 per cent of these requests. “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 in its report.
Of the 878 content pieces that Facebook took down in the second half of the year, only 10 were restricted temporarily.
“We also restricted access to 54 items in compliance with court orders. In response to an order from Justice Alexandre de Moraes of Brazil’s Supreme Court related to 12 profiles and Pages of supporters of Brazilian President Bolsonaro, we restricted access globally to this content, including in India,” the company added.
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