Facebook is kowtowing to officials in Pakistan who demand that it removes “blasphemous” posts insulting Islam.
Pakistani government figures show that, 85% of the time, Facebook does as it is told and disappears the posts.
The information came to light this week, when a Pakistani official boasted of the regime’s success getting its own way with Facebook.
According to The Times of India, a report by the Interior Ministry to the High Court of Islamabad unveiled the 85% figure.
It was greeted with joy by various officials – including interior secretary Arif Khan, who said: “Now there’s only 15% of such content left to be removed.”
The head of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority also said: “Facebook agreeing to our demands is a big achievement.”
Blasphemy in Pakistani is punishable by death.
However, legal figures at the court were underwhelmed by the 85% success rate – and demanded a China-style “national firewall” to block any internet traffic with which they disagree.
Earlier this month, Heat Street reported on efforts by the Pakistani government to persuade Facebook to hand over details of blasphemers so authorities can hunt them down (and presumably kill them).
The latest figures show Facebook has had few problems co-operating so far.
Facebook makes no secret of the extent to which it covers up supposedly objectionable content all over the world.
Despite its Silicon Valley rhetoric of empowering people and enabling communication, Facebook is an active censor, especially in the Islamic world.
As well as defending the dignity of religions, officials have also taken action against posts which mock political leaders.
In January, the site agreed to a request by Thailand’s military junta to hide embarrassing photos which allegedly show the Thai king’s mistress dancing in her underwear.
More recently, CEO Mark Zuckerberg even went as far as to announce plans to pro-actively censor content in oppressive countries, without being asked by the authorities.
In a lengthy essay published last month, he announced that their global policy on content policing would be replaced with a “local governance” system that will inevitably ramp up censorship on citizens of oppressive regimes.
Facebook has yet to respond to Heat Street‘s request for comment.