Surprisingly, India has surpassed all Middle Eastern nations, including the most conservative Islamic Nations to request for the most amount of content from being removed/blocked on Facebook. This gets even more disturbing knowing that India makes it to the top three contenders for maximum content removal for the third consecutive year in a row. The idea of Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan or even Russia not requesting as much as the democratic secular nation of India, where freedom of expression is guaranteed by law, is sickening to say the least.
While Facebook restricted a total of 37,695 requests in France, 32,100 of these were "instances of a single image related to the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris". It’s safe to understand that these images specifically encouraged hatred between ethnic and religious groups during the extremely heated environment after the terrorist attacks in Paris and thus were worthy of removal. However, images and content removed in India reflects an extremely narrow religious censorship that allegedly, as India claims was “anti-religious” or “hate speech” that could cause disharmony within India.
Facebook reported almost 15,000 requests from India during the second half of 2015. This was in response to requests by government agencies, including law enforcement agencies apart from NGOs and random Facebook users that highlighted illegal content on Facebook. Disturbingly, India requests the most requests for user’s personal data in case of a violation of law.
Facebook claims only it produced data requests for only 50% of India’s claims, whuich included robberies or kidnapping, or crucial criminal offences. In many of these cases, the government was requesting basic subscriber information, such as name and length of service.
Facebook ahs time and again emphasized it’s commitment to stick with protecting user’s data and rights and will even go to the extent of fighting in the court to defend it’s right to refuse help to the government. Facebook has claimed it scrutizes each and every request for its legal sufficiency, no matter which country is making the request. India is the second largest user of Facebook after America and has a total of more than 1.6 billion monthly users.
What do you think of the move by India to request for so frequent information? Does potentially dissenting content need to be taken down immediately and be treated as a necessary price to pay for societal security or is it a breach of your rights to privacy and freedom of expression? Let us know in the comments on our official Facebook page Entrepreneur India