In the period of January-June 2018, Pakistan is the top country with regards to censorship of certain Facebook content.
Facebook has released its semi-annual transparency report, which details the governments’ request for content restrictions, data requests, internet disruptions, and statistics regarding complaints against intellectual property theft.
This six-month report reveals that most requests made to restrict a post, profile, or a page on Facebook were made by the Pakistani government.
In the Jan-June 2018 period, restricted Facebook items in Pakistan summed up to 2,203. These items have been restricted upon the government’s request.
The social network also restricted access to 87 items which were of defamatory nature.
Facebook restricted access to the said items that were been reported by Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) for violating the local laws ‘prohibiting blasphemy, harassment, anti-judiciary content, and condemnation of the country’s independence.’
The quantity of content restriction even exceeds that of Russia, that stands at 5th position with content restrictions amounting 1,546.
As for India, availability of 1524 items was restricted in response to legal requests based on court orders by the law enforcement agencies and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
Most of the content was alleged to be violating Indian laws pertaining to anti-state content, anti-religion content, and hate speech. 252 items were restricted for being defamatory.
It should be mentioned here that this restriction comes about when something on Facebook or Instagram is reported as “violating the local law” but does not breach the company’s community standards. Following a government request, Facebook restricts the content’s availability in that specific country.
As for the data requests by the governments regarding the Facebook users, Pakistan requested the data of 1609 users. The social media giant does reserve the right to reject or ask for further details regarding the data-acquisition request from a government.
Notably, the current government has vowed to regulate the media while bringing the social media under the federal domain. Moreover, all the media regulatory authorities will be amalgamated into a top body called Pakistan Media Regulatory Authority to look over electronic, print and the cyber media.