India tops Facebook's world for restricted content

12 Nov, 2015


Facebook Inc restricts more content in India than the 92 other countries where it operates, the social media giant said in its bi-annual 'Global Government Requests Report'.

Content take-downs on Facebook India tripled in the first half of 2015 from a year earlier, triggered by government requests. Overall, 15,155 pieces of content were blocked in India on the Facebook platform, instant messaging app WhatsApp and photo-sharing app Instagram.

Facebook said the content was blocked because law enforcement agencies and the Computer Emergency Response Team of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology felt that it was anti-religious and hate speech that could cause unrest and disharmony within India.

After India, Turkey (4,496 pieces of content) and France (295) had the most restrictions.

Indian authorities made 5,115 requests for user data, up from 4,559 a year earlier.

The US topped the list of nations seeking user data, making 17,577 requests as against 15,433 a year earlier.

Globally, there is a spurt in content restriction and government requests for data, Facebook said. The amount of content restricted for violating local law increased to 20,568 pieces in the first half of this year from 9,707 in the second half of 2014. Government requests for account data increased across all countries by 18 per cent over the same period, Chris Sonderby, deputy general counsel of Facebook, said in a statement.

With about 130 million users, India is a key growth market for Facebook. Last month, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg was in New Delhi to hold the company's first Town Hall Q&A session in India, which was conducted at IIT Delhi.

Zuckerberg's India visit came exactly a month after Facebook hosted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at its global headquarters in California. The event was webcast live on the Facebook profiles of both Modi and Zuckerberg.