India, the largest audience country for Facebook, requested for data 9,853 times in the first half of 2017 – up from 6,324 times in the first half of 2016, according to a latest report by the social media giant. Facebook released its latest ‘Government Requests Report’ yesterday, which covered account data requests from the first half of 2017 and revealed a 21 per cent increase in government requests for user data worldwide. Those requests rose from 64,279 in the second half of 2016 to 78,890. Facebook restricted access to 1,228 pieces of content “in response to legal requests from law enforcement agencies and the India Computer Emergency Response Team within the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology,” the company said. “The majority of content restricted was alleged to violate local laws relating to defamation of religion and hate speech,” Facebook said.
The Indian government and law enforcement agencies also requested for some information on 13,752 user accounts. Facebook produced “some data” in 54 per cent of the cases in the January-June 2017 period. In the case of 262 Facebook accounts flagged in the “Emergency” category from user/account requests, the company produced “some data” in 36 per cent of the cases. Facebook was disrupted 21 times in the first half for the Indian users, it said. “We are aware of disruptions affecting access to Facebook products and services in India that took place during all six months of this reporting period. These disruptions were contained to specific regions,” the company said.
As of July, Facebook users in India have crossed 240- million mark, becoming the largest audience country for the social media giant, according to a media report. Facebook is reporting a total potential audience of 241 million active users in India, compared to 240 million in the US.