India was responsible for most of the content taken down on Facebook in the first half of 2015 for violating local laws, with the social networking site saying government requests for data surged during the period.
Content restrictions and government requests for data have been continually increasing since Facebook began publicly releasing such information two years ago.
India had 15,155 pieces of content restricted – nearly triple the amount in the second half of 2014 – while Turkey had 4,496, up from 3,624, Facebook said in a blog post Wednesday.
Government requests for account data globally jumped 18% in the first half of 2015 to 41,214 accounts, up from 35,051 requests in the second half of 2014. The amount of content restricted for violating local law more than doubled compared with the same period in the second half of 2014, rising to 20,568 pieces of content.
France, Germany and Britain made up a large percentage of the requests and had far more content restricted in 2015. Some of the content taken down in Germany may relate to Holocaust denial, Facebook said.
Most government requests relate to criminal cases, such as robberies or kidnappings, it said. The governments often request basic subscriber information, IP addresses or account content, including people’s posts online.
The bulk of government requests came from US law enforcement agencies. US agencies requested data from 26,579 accounts – comprising more than 60% of requests globally – up from 21,731 accounts in the second half of 2014.
The technology industry has pushed for greater transparency on government data requests, seeking to shake off concerns about their involvement in vast, surreptitious surveillance programmes revealed by former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.
“Facebook does not provide any government with ‘back doors’ or direct access to people’s data,” Facebook wrote.
Facebook, Microsoft Corp, Yahoo Inc and Alphabet Inc, formerly Google, last year began publishing details about the number of government requests for data they receive.
(With inputs from Reuters)