Social media platforms supporting governments in their actions to suppress dissent have been increasing worldwide in recent years. A new report by Facebook reveals that the Indian government made 40,300 requests to Facebook for user data in the second half of 2020.
The platform restricted access to 878 items in response to the directions issued by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. Access was restricted citing violation of Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, and content posted on the platform that is against the security of the state.
“Of these, 10 were restricted temporarily. We also restricted access to 54 items in compliance with court orders,” said Facebook in its latest Transparency Report for the July-December period in 2020.
Globally, requests for user data from countries increased by 10 percent in the second half of 2020. Of the total requests, the US continues to make the largest requests followed by India, Germany, France, Brazil and the United Kingdom.
Content restriction implementation by the platform based on local laws increased by 93 percent from 22,120 in H1 2020 to 42,606 in H2 2020.
“In the last half of 2020, we identified 91 disruptions of Facebook services in 18 countries, compared to 52 disruptions in nine countries in the first half of 2020,” read the report.
During this period, the platform took down 302,992 pieces of content based on 875,421 copyright reports, 584,088 pieces of content based on 310,418 trademark reports and 1,440,415 pieces of content based on 112,660 counterfeit reports.
During the H2 period of the report, India saw huge protests by farmers all across the country. In this period, the government often claimed that false information is being spread in the country, and therefore, restricted many posts and profiles on Facebook.