India continues to be highest requestor for user data from Facebook after US

indica News Bureau-

India continues to be the second-highest requestor for user data from Facebook, according to its bi-annual Transparency Report, which revealed government requests for user data in the second half of 2019.

The Indian government was second to the US once again in requesting Facebook for access to users data in the last six months of 2019, an increase of nearly 37 percent from the first half (January-June period) last year, Facebook announced on Tuesday.

The Indian government sent Facebook 26,698 queries about users’ data – up 4,014 from 22,684 requests in the first half of 2019 period – and the social networking giant provided data in 57 percent of the requests, according to Facebook’s latest biannual Transparency Report.

India had also sent Facebook 22,684 queries about users in year 2019. The social networking giant provided data in 54 percent of the request, according to Facebook’s previous Transparency Report. The US government sent Facebook total of 50,741 requests about users’ data in the same period. Globally, in the first half of 2019, government requests for user data increased by 16 percent from 110,634 to 128,617, reported Business Standard.

This time, Out of the total requests, 24,944 were legal and 1,754 were emergency requests from India.

There was an increase in the Indian government’s request to preserve account information too, pending receipt of the formal legal process.

In July-December 2019 period, India asked for 2,500 accounts to be preserved, from 2,200 account requests in the Jan-June period.

“When we receive a preservation request, we will preserve a temporary snapshot of the relevant account information but will not disclose any of the preserved records unless and until we receive formal and valid legal process,” informed Facebook.

The US-made the highest number of legal process requests at 47,958, followed by India with 24,944 legal process requests. In India, Facebook produced data for nearly 14,345 of these legal requests.

“As always, we scrutinize every government request we receive to make sure it is legally valid, no matter which government makes the request. If a request appears deficient or overly broad, we push back and will fight in court, if necessary.

We do not provide governments with “back doors” to people’s information,” added Sonderby in the post.

Facebook also released its latest Community Standards Enforcement Report and said it removed about 4.7 million pieces of content globally on the platform connected to organized hate, an increase of over 3 million pieces of content from the previous quarter.

The report provides metrics on how well Facebook and Instagram enforced their policies from October 2019 through March 2020.


Globally, during the last six months of 2019, government requests for user data increased by 9.5 percent from 128,617 to 140,875. Of the total volume, the US continues to submit the largest number of requests, followed by India, the UK, Germany and France.

Of the total, Russia, Pakistan, and Mexico accounted for almost half of global content restrictions.

“During this reporting period, we identified 45 disruptions of Facebook services in 6 countries, compared to 67 disruptions in 15 countries in the first half of 2019,” said Sonderby.

Facebook said that it took down 3,139,315 pieces of content based on 576,423 copyright reports, 284,090 pieces of content based on 137,123 trademark reports, and 1,141,103 pieces of content based on 77,866 counterfeit reports during the reporting period.

“We’ve spent the last few years building tools, teams and technologies to help protect elections from interference, prevent misinformation from spreading on our apps and keep people safe from harmful content,” said Guy Rosen, VP Integrity in a post.

Facebook claimed that it is now able to proactively find almost 90 percent of hate speech that is taken down from the platform, compared to 24 percent in 2018. This was made possible because Facebook expanded its proactive detection technology to more languages.

The company also increased its proactive detection rate, which is the content it removes on its own before someone reports it, for organized hate, to 96.7 percent in Q1 2020 from 89.6 percent in Q4 2019.

On Instagram, the proactive detection rate increased from 57.6 percent to 68.9 percent, 175,000 pieces of content were removed in Q1 2020, up from 139,800 the previous quarter.

Sharing enforcement data for bullying on Instagram for the first time in this report, the Menlo Park-based firm including taking action on 1.5 million pieces of content in both Q4 2019 and Q1 2020.

“On Instagram, we made improvements to our text and image matching technology to help us find more suicide and self-injury content. As a result, we increased the amount of content we took action on by 40 percent and increased our proactive detection rate by more than 12 points since the last report,” said Rosen.

As part of this report, Facebook has added new data on hate speech, adult nudity and sexual activity, violent and graphic content, and bullying and harassment for Instagram, and organized hate on Facebook and Instagram.

The Community Standards report does not reflect the full impact of how Facebook tackled misinformation during the pandemic, because it includes data only through March 2020.