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Source: Comparitech

Technology companies Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and open encyclopedia Wikimedia, have received the most content takedown requests from India, said UK-based technology research firm Comparitech.

India is followed by Russia and Turkey in content removal requests, according to Comparitech, which collated data from the transparency reports of top internet companies till date. The governments of India and Russia each accounted for almost 20% of the overall number of removal requests. The total number of requests sent by various countries to internet firms stood at 3,90,764 so far.

  1. India – 77,620
  2. Russia – 77,162
  3. Turkey – 63,585

The report comes at a time when the Indian government, like many governments globally, is trying to make social media companies accountable for the content shared or posted on their platforms. This is part efforts to restrict the spread of misinformation, hate speech and child abuse material. Many internet and free speech activists, however, see the move as an excuse to control and suppress free speech.

“Here at Comparitech, we’ve collated all of this data to find out which governments censor online content the most and which channels are targeted by each government. What did we find? Some governments avidly try to control online data, whether this is on social media, blogs, or both,” said Paul Bischoff, an editor at Comparitech.

Top countries by number of Google content removal requests (From July 2009 till July 2018)

  1. Russia – 61,471
  2. Turkey – 10,379
  3. United States – 7,964
  4. Brazil – 6,455
  5. India – 5,308

Top countries by number of Twitter content removal requests (From January 2012 till July 2018)

  1. Turkey – 30,183
  2. Russia – 11,570
  3. France – 3,807
  4. India – 1,406

Top countries by number of Facebook content removal requests (From July 2013 till December 2018)

  1. India – 70,815
  2. France – 42,989
  3. Mexico – 24,872
  4. Turkey – 23,002

This is where the vast majority of India’s government content removal requests go (91.23 percent of their total of 77,620). India accounts for 33.33 percent of the overall number of Facebook removal requests (212,496), while second-place France accounts for 20.23 percent.

What kind of content removal requests is Facebook receiving?

India: “We received a request from law enforcement in India to remove a photo that depicted a sketch of the Prophet Mohammed.” – The content didn’t violate Facebook’s Community Standards but was made unavailable in India where any depiction of Mohammed is forbidden. (Jun 2016)

Which governments are censoring content the most?

While India takes the top spot for the overall number of content removal requests, as we have seen, the majority of these come from Facebook. Therefore, while the Indian government is clearly censoring Facebook (and is actively censoring other platforms, too), other countries appear to be censoring in larger volumes across all platforms.

Source: Comparitech & The Economic Times

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