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Facebook: Pakistan second in social media surveillance?

The state surveillance on social media tightened in Pakistan in the second half of the preceding year, as suggested by the latest transparency report released by social media giant Facebook on Friday. Pakistan acquiring the second spot in the list, following India, is now amongst the top states where Facebook restricted the maximum content.

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News Desk |

The data shows how Facebook restricted 4,174 items in Pakistan in the period from July to December, as compared to the 2203 pieces during the first half of 2018.

As per the details, Facebook suspended 3,811 posts, 10 profiles, and one album. The social media giant also acted on Instagram, restricting a total of nine items- seven posts and two accounts.

Facebook commented that it was the government’s request to act against the content surged in the second half of the year, as authorities sent 1,752 data requests and sought data of 2,360 users. It was higher than the 1,233 requests the government made in the first half of the year.

Prime Minister’s focal person on Digital Media, Arslan Khalid, told that nearly 35,000 posts were removed by the platform in the previous six months.

The majority of the content taken down accounted for violation of local laws, inciting blasphemy, anti-judiciary content, defamation, and condemnation of the country’s independence. Facebook stated that it acted upon 51% of the government requests in the said time period. It also added that they accept the government’s request to preserve and account information pending receipt of the former legal process.

“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,” it explained.

The government representative elaborated that nearly 60 % of the content comprised of hate speech by religious groups, pertaining to Asia Bibi blasphemy case. Moreover, the action was taken against 100 profiles for impersonation.

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Prime Minister’s focal person on Digital Media, Arslan Khalid, told that nearly 35,000 posts were removed by the platform in the previous six months; “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,”