If you thought India is a country where freedom of speech and expression are fundamental rights, think twice!

Advertisement
If you thought India is a country where freedom of speech and expression are fundamental rights, think twice!
Advertisement
Having contributed significantly in growing pollution and corruption indices, there’s one place where India seems to hold the top spot is: imposing restrictions on social media contents. There have been over 5,800 restriction requests recorded in the second half of 2014, as per Facebook’s Government Requests Report.

Economic Times has reported that data and content restrictions across the globe are on the rise and India seems to have topped the list. The content restrictions from India have been constantly on the rise—it rose to 5,832 from 4,960 in the first half.

Things are not any different across the globe. “The amount of content restricted for violating local law increased by 11% over the previous half, to 9,707 pieces of content restricted, up from 8,774," said Monika Bickert, Facebook's head of global policy management, and Chris Sonderby, deputy general counsel, in a statement on the social networking website.

Other countries from where Facebook has observed an increased number of content restrictions requests are Turkey and Russia. Surprisingly, FET reported that the number of content restriction requests from Pakistan came down to 54 in the second half of 2014 from 1,773 in the first half.

It is worth noting that India is the second largest market for Facebook, with 112 million users until last year, second only to the United States. While these figures are alarming, counsel for the Software Freedom Law Centre told ET , “…it would have been better if Facebook had also given us more information on the kind of data that was being asked for. Now we only have consolidated figures. So what kind of data was asked for, that would have been more useful."
Advertisement


Pranesh Prakash, policy director at the Centre for Internet and Society, on the other hand, feels that the number of content restriction requests is not only high on an absolute number, but even on a per-user basis.