Facebook released its global government transparency report. USA the oldest democracy, UK the representative democracy and India the largest democracy are the biggest offenders of its citizen’s privacy. For the first time it is revealed that how often countries have restricted or removed content from the site.
United States is the leader in user information requests. (Granted 81% of its 12,598 requests) due to search warrants, subpoenas, emergency disclosures, and other official reasons.
UK (Granted 71% of its 1,906 requests).
India (Granted 54% of its 3,598 requests) also holds the first rank in 4,765 content restrictions on the basis of “Law violation”.
Allied forces have again shown that they are working at their will without taking concern of their citizens.
According to Facebook, “When governments believe that something on the Internet violates their laws, they may contact companies like Facebook to restrict access to that content. Requests are scrutinized to determine if the specified content does indeed violate local laws. If, after a thorough legal analysis, we determine content appears to violate local law, then we make it unavailable in the relevant country or territory.”
In case of India Facebook says most of the restriction is based upon laws “prohibiting criticism of a religion or the state.” And India is no small market for Facebook. The country recently reached 100 million monthly active users.
For India, The major reason is Indian legislation outlaws criticizing a religion or the state, so when government officials calls it blasphemy, Facebook investigates and eradicates the content. Even if there are any critical discussion related to any religion or somebody is trying to do analyses of so called Holy books, due to some pre-modern unscientific beliefs, sentiments of people get hurt. And based on this sentimental or so called moral issues authorities took the biased judgments against those who post such content.
Indian constitute gives each citizen Right to Free Speech, but It is hilarious that most of the time this basic right is crushed by government itself. There might be chances that it has done deliberately to hurt some people but that is not always the case.
Let’s see the factual data, about top 5 nations who requested the user info.
- USA (18715)
- India (4711)
- UK (2277)
- Italy (2613)
- Germany (1950)
top 5 who restricted the content
- India (4765)
- Turkey (2014)
- Pakistan (162)
- Israel (113)
- Germany (84)
Period of this report is from July 2013 to December 2013.
According to Colin Stretch, Facebook’s general counsel “Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share, and to make the world more open and connected, Sometimes, the laws of a country interfere with that mission, by limiting what can be shared there.”
Governments make requests to Facebook and many other companies seeking account information in official investigations. In many of these cases, these government requests seek basic subscriber information, such as name and length of service. Other requests may also seek IP address logs or actual account content.
While India leads the pack of content restriction, it was followed by Turkey which restricted 2,014 pieces of content primarily because it defamed or criticized Ataturk or the Turkish state, which is illegal. Germany was allowed to censor 84 pieces of content because local laws prohibit Holocaust denial. That law also exists in France (80 restrictions) and Austria (78 restrictions).
A world map displaying how much was banned and why can be seen here. Facebook didn’t include information it would have removed anyway because it violated its community standards.
But this is not new thing that any social networking service provider disclosing its data to world, Twitter has been releasing this information for years.
Facebook has said that they will be releasing these reports regularly in the future.