The Indian government made the second-highest number of requests for user data from Meta between January to June, the social media company said in its latest transparency report on Tuesday.
The most number of requests were made by the United States.
According to the report, the Indian government made 55,497 requests seeking information of 91,159 users in the first six months of 2022.
The social media company said it provided “some data” on 36,955 of the total requests.
Meta, the parent company of social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, also said that 51,602 requests were part of a legal process, while 3,895 were “emergency disclosure requests”.
According to Facebook, law enforcement agencies can submit emergency requests if they require disclosure of information without any delay. This falls under “emergency disclosure requests”.
The report said that Meta restricted 597 items – pages, accounts and posts – on the directions of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology for violating Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. The Act allows the government to block public access to content in the interest of national security.
Six items were blocked by Meta under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines & Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, and 23 items restricted on complaints by the Election Commission under the Indian Penal code.
“We also restricted access to 71 items due to other court orders, to 13 items for IP infringement, and to two items in response to private reports of defamation,” Meta said.
The Indian government also made more requests in first half of this year than than both the halves of 2021. The number of requests made by the Indian government in 2021 were 95,700. Of these 45,300 requests were made between January to June and 50,400 between July and December.
In the US, Meta received 69,363 requests, which was 15.6% more than those made in the second half of 2021.
Globally, the social media company received 2.37 lakhs requests related to the accounts of 4.12 lakh users. “Some data” was provided on 76.10% of the total requests made.
Meta said it scrutinises all government requests to make sure they are legally valid. “We comply with government requests for user information only where we have a good-faith belief that the law requires us to do so,” it said.
The report was published in the same month Facebook’s independent oversight committee had raised concerns about Meta’s relationships with governments, particularly in cases in which law enforcement requests lead to lawful content being reviewed against the Community Standards and removed.
“While law enforcement can sometimes provide context and expertise, not every piece of content that law enforcement would prefer to have taken down should be taken down,” the committee had said. “It is therefore critical that Meta evaluates these requests independently…”