The Indian government made the maximum number of demands to remove content from Facebook in the first six months of this year, a three-fold increase over last year.
According to the data released by Facebook in its biannual Government Requests Report, India made 15,155 demands, outnumbering 92 other countries in the list. In comparison, India had made 5,832 requests for content removal between June and December 2014.
The company stated that the posts were censored to prevent religious unrest in the country and had mostly been reported by government agencies. “We restricted access in India to content reported primarily by law enforcement agencies and the India Computer Emergency Response Team within the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology because it was anti-religious and hate speech that could cause unrest and disharmony within India,” the report stated.
Turkey came second at 4,496 requests followed by France with 295 requests. India has topped the social network’s content removal list for the third year in running, since it began releasing the data in 2013. The country is also Facebook’s second-largest market in the world after US, with over 130 million users.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been accused of restricting access to the Internet. In January, it blocked 32 websites including Vimeo, Daily Motion and Github to check ISIS propaganda, and 857 pornography sites in August. Both the orders were subsequently rolled back.
Overall, censorship on Facebook increased by 112% over the second half of 2014, with 20,568 pieces of content being restricted. There was also a rise in government requests for account data, from 35,051 requests to 41,214. Facebook restricts content for violating local laws.
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