Pakistan ranked 2nd among countries where Facebook removed maximum content

By Faisal Saeed on
May 27, 2019
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The social media tech giant Facebook has released the latest transparency report on Friday, which shows that Pakistan is ranked second among the top countries where the content restriction by Facebook doubled between July and December 2018. Facebook has said that they restricted content in Pakistan for violating local laws that prohibit blasphemy, anti-judiciary content, defamation and posts criticizing the country’s independence.

The report displays that Facebook restricted 4,174 posts within Pakistan during the second half of 2018, which is double the number as compared to 2,203 content pieces from the first half of last year. India with 17,713 restricted items is at the top of the list with Brazil at third with 4,026 curbed post items.

The report further elaborates that, the social media giant suspended 3,811 posts, 343 pages and groups, 10 profiles and one album in Pakistan. On Instagram, the platform suspended a total of nine items, which includes seven posts and two accounts.

The number of requests from Pakistani government for content restriction rose significantly during the second half of 2018, as the authorities delivered 1,752 data requests and sought information of 2,360 users and accounts. These figures are double as compared to the first half of last year where the authorities only sent 1,233 requests to remove data from the platform. According to the report Facebook complied with 51% of the government requests in 2018.

Facebook also receive preservation requests from the government to preserve account information and other data. The report says, “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”.

Prime Minister’s Focal Person on Digital Media Arslan Khalid said, “We are closely working with Facebook to crack down on hate speech and impersonation. In the past six months, over 35,000 posts were suspended by the platform for hate speech alone”.

The government spokesperson further added that 60% of the content removed from Facebook involved hate campaigns by religious groups, particularly regarding the Aasia Bibi case. Moreover, 100 profiles were reported to the social media giant by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) that were reported as fake.

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