Facebook Releases Report on Government Requests for User Data

Modesto Morganelli
Aprile 28, 2017

The company reports that the number of content restrictions dropped from 9,663 to 6,944 - a decrease of 28 percent.

According to Facebook's latest transparency report, in the first six months of a year ago, the social media giant received 59,229 government requests for user data worldwide; in the next period, that number rose by 9 percent to 64,279. Interestingly, around half of the requests that came from the USA government included a non-disclosure component that prevented Facebook from informing the user that their account was being looked at.

Facebook revealed on Thursday that it saw an increase in government requests for user data from the first half of 2016 to the second.

The report is part of a larger effort by Facebook and Silicon Valley in general to balance the lawful demands of law enforcement agencies with users' privacy concerns.

Facebook is often barred from informing users when law enforcement requests their information, so the transparency report gives the fullest picture of how often user information gets passed on to police. We scrutinize each request for legal sufficiency, no matter which country is making the request, and challenge those that are deficient or overly broad. Facebook is well-aware that it faces scrutiny and criticism for its willingness to comply with data requests, and the company tries to allay fears by saying: "We do not provide governments with "back doors" or direct access to people's information". Sonderby said about half the requests that came from USA law enforcement agencies in the last half of 2016 legally barred Facebook from informing the user of the request.

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