Facebook censorship: India leads the way
Anyone living outside India who thinks censorship of Facebook is bad, think again. India was named the top aggressor against the social networking site and users who post content. While the country is not known for its crackdowns on free speech to the same degree as other nations, it more than doubled its content restrictions over the next-worst country, Turkey.
While Facebook has only previously released information about government's requests for information concerning a certain user, this new report gave detailed information about those who demand content restrictions be implemented.
Bloomberg gave the example of how many European countries, such as Germany, have laws against Holocaust denial. The country had asked Facebook more than 80 times in the second half of last year to remove content per the laws of the land.
In India, where officials have been pursuing a campaign to have more control over what is posted online, the government asked Facebook in 2013 to restrict content more than 4,700 times. Much of that censorship revolves around ethnic tensions in the country, which has seen a number of small uprisings in recent years. The government also wants to force attacks against religions and minority groups offline and out of public space.
The big surprise was that Turkey, a country which has been in the spotlight for much of the past year over its attempts to crack down on the Internet and free speech, including its recent 10-day removal of access to the micro-blogging site Twitter, came in second, far behind India.
Many expected Turkey, with its very public angst toward social media, to have been the leader, but it was not to be. Likewise, another surprise in the report was that the United States, which has been often criticized over its free speech violations and censorship, was near the bottom of the list of those demanding content be restricted.
Facebook did point out that although the U.S. did not ask for restriction of content, it was near the top in terms of overall requests for information about users.
Other countries at the top of the list asking for content restrictions included Pakistan, Israel, Germany, France, Austria, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates. Rounding out the top 10 censors in the world was Italy, showing that while perceptions against developing nations and their own infringements on free speech, European nations took the most positions on the top.
For many, this shows that while many tech industry leaders may assume the worst of countries with a more restrictive nature in general, this appears not to translate into the Internet realm, with the vast majority of the top Internet censors being well-developed Western nations.