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Received 40,300 Govt Requests for User Data From India: Facebook Transparency Report

Representative image of a user on Facebook, in front of the app's logo.

Representative image of a user on Facebook, in front of the app's logo.

This was 13.3 percent higher from the January-June 2020 period when India had made 35,560 total requests, according to the Facebook's latest Transparency Report.

Social media giant Facebook said it has received 40,300 requests from the Indian government for user data in the second half of 2020. This was 13.3 percent higher from the January-June 2020 period when India had made 35,560 total requests, according to the Facebook’s latest Transparency Report. The US-based company restricted access to 878 items in India during the second half of 2020 in response to directions from the IT Ministry for violating Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, including content against the security of the state and public order.

According to the report, India made 40,300 total requests in the July-December 2020 period, of which 37,865 were legal process requests and 2,435 were emergency disclosure requests. The number of total requests made by India ranked second to the US, which had made 61,262 requests during the July-December 2020 period. Globally, government requests for user data increased by about 10 per cent to 191,013 in the second half of 2020 from 173,592 in the first half of 2020. Information related to 62,754 users/accounts were requested in India, and some data was produced for 52 per cent of the 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 report said. Facebook said that during the July - December 2020 period, it had “restricted access in India to 878 items in response to directions from the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for violating Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, including content against the security of the state and public order”.

Of these, 10 were restricted temporarily, it added. “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,” it added.

Facebook noted that while it respects the law in countries where it operates, it “strongly” opposes extraterritorial legal demands such as the one resulting in these restrictions. The social media giant also released its Community Standards Enforcement Report for the first quarter of 2021.

As per the Community Standards Enforcement Report, content actioned on adult nudity and sexual activity increased to 31.8 million in first quarter of 2021 from 28.1 million pieces of content in the preceding quarter. The report found that prevalence of hate speech content was between 0.05 per cent and 0.06 per cent of views in the first quarter of 2021, which marks a decrease from the fourth quarter of 2020.

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