NEW DELHI: In a bid to curb cybercrime, the country's law enforcement agencies blocked more than 1,600 web addresses on social networking sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram in the last one year. The government has also recommended blocking of 2,245 web addresses to ensure no "unlawful content" goes online, according to government data for the period from January 2017 to June this year.
Responding to a question on the issue, the Union Minister of State for Home, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir, told the Lok Sabha that as many as 1,662 URLs were blocked due to unlawful content by social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter following requests from law enforcement agencies.
Facebook blocked 956 URLs against requests for 1,076 URLs, Twitter 409 URLs against 728 requests, and YouTube blocked 152 URLs against 182 requests, Ahir said. The minister said Instas blocked 66 URLs against requests for 150 and others blocked 79 URLs against requests for 109 URLs.
Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is an address that shows where a particular page can be found on the world wide web. The Union Minister of State for Home said law enforcement agencies monitor the web and social media, and take appropriate action for blocking unlawful content under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. The minister said that the government held regular meetings with intermediaries from time to time for strengthening the cooperation framework to ensure better compliance.
On Tuesday, the government also responded to the issue of recent trolling of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on social media. However, the minister avoided giving a direct reply on whether an inquiry was conducted into the matter, saying that in such cases an investigation is ordered on receipt of a complaint.
Trinamool Congress MP Prasun Banerjee had submitted a written question in the Lok Sabha on whether the government had conducted any inquiry into the trolling of Swaraj and if it had, whether the standard protocol was followed.
In a written reply, Ahir said, "On receipt of complaints from affected persons, law enforcement agencies require social media platforms to remove such content or block them from being viewed and take up an investigation and other action as per the law against the culprits."
Swaraj was recently targeted by trolls on social media platforms following the transfer of a Passport Seva Kendra official in Lucknow, Vikas Mishra, for allegedly humiliating an interfaith couple.