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Facebook restricted access to 878 items in Jul-Dec 2020 on government orders

Facebook restricted access to 878 items in Jul-Dec 2020 on government orders
Photo Credit: Reuters
21 May, 2021

Social media platform Facebook and its group company Instagram restricted access to 878 items in India including posts, profiles, pages and other media for the six-month period of July to December 2020, said the company’s latest transparency report.  

The access was restricted in response to directions from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for the violation of section 69A of the Information Technology Act 2000 dealing with state and public order. 

In addition, 54 items were restricted in compliance with court orders. Access to 12 profiles and pages supporting Brazilian president Bolsonaro were restricted globally including India, bringing up total number of restricted items to 944.  

This is up from 841 items restricted by the platform in July to December 2019 period, as well as 824 items restricted by the company across platforms for the first half of 2020, between January and June. 

This included 526 items on Facebook, including 100 profiles, 104 pages and groups and 322 posts, as well as 48 Instagram accounts and 370 media uploaded on the app. Facebook does not include data on content restrictions for WhatsApp in its transparency report for India.  

Overall, Facebook received 40,300 requests from the Indian government including request for data on 62,754 users or accounts. Of these 2,435 were emergency disclosure requests while the rest were legal process requests sent by law enforcement agencies. Facebook responded to at least 52% of these requests in some capacity. 

According to the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 notified by the government in February, social media intermediaries deemed significant will be required to publish monthly reports on complaints received by them against content on the platform and action taken. 

In 2020, Facebook also constituted a 40-member global Oversight Board to look into content issues and recommend policies.