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Facebook services saw most disruptions in India in first half of 2020

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In the first half of 2020, there were 42 instances when Facebook services were disrupted in India, totalling for a total of 38 weeks, 3 days, and 19 hours. Most of these disruptions were in Jammu and Kashmir, followed by West Bengal. This information was revealed as part of Facebook’s transparency report for the first half of 2020. This isn’t a surprising trend, given how trigger happy the Indian government has been with issuing internet shutdown orders — Jammu and Kashmir for instance was subjected to a year long internet shutdown, first imposed in August 2019, and several parts of the union territory don’t receive 4G internet speeds even at the time of publishing. In fact, so far, there have been around 450 internet shutdowns in the country, as per data maintained by SFLC.in’s internet shutdown tracker.

India comes second in government requests for user data: During the first six months of 2020, government requests for user data increased by 23% from 140,875 to 173,592, Facebook said. Of that, the US submitted the largest number of requests, followed by India, Germany, France, and the UK. In total, India requested access to data from Facebook in 35,650 cases, significantly more than the 26,698 requests it made in the second half of 2019. Of the totals requests made by India, Facebook produced data in half of the cases.

Facebook claims it removed more hate speech using AI: For the first time, Facebook revealed what it is calling the “prevalence of hate speech” on its platform. Between July-September 2020, hate speech prevalence was 0.10% – 0.11%, that is, 10 to 11 views of hate speech for every 10,000 views of content.

Facebook said it has been able to detect more hate speech and act on its proactively before users reported it, owing to its investments in artificial intelligence technology. Between July and September, it took action on 22.1 million pieces of hate speech content on Facebook, about 95% of which was proactively identified. On Instagram, it took action on 6.5 million pieces of hate speech content, up from 3.2 million between April-June.

Content restrictions: The volume of content restrictions based on local law increased globally 40% from 15,826 to 22,120. The increase was in part related to COVID-related restrictions. “When something on Facebook or Instagram is reported to us as violating local law, but doesn’t go against our Community Standards, we may restrict the content’s availability in the country where it is alleged to be illegal,” Facebook said.

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  • In India, it restricted access to 824 pieces of content in the first half of 2020.

Intellectual property violations: During this reporting period, Facebook said it took down 3,716,817 pieces of content based on 659,444 copyright reports; 404,078 pieces of content based on 166,310 trademark reports; and 1,308,834 pieces of content based on 97,186 counterfeit reports.

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