Governments are asking Facebook for a lot more user account data

20 December, 2017, 00:40 | Author: Devin Moran
  • Hand over the data

In keeping with other major social networks, Facebook is fielding more requests for private user data than ever - among them secret orders enabling USA authorities to demand information without a warrant.

The number of requests raised by 25.7 percent in first half of 2017 from the 26,014 made in the second half of 2016, said Facebook.

More than half of the requests were granted, above all in the United Kingdom (90%), USA (85%) and France (74%), said Facebook.

While all requests are reviewed by Facebook, the figures also revealed that most were approved, with the United Kingdom (90 per cent), the USA (85 per cent) and France (74 per cent) all notable for their high level of request approval. For the second half of 2016, content was restricted only around 7000 times, suggesting a fourfold increase in the takedown requests, notes The Verge.

Facebook's report includes requests for user data from Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram accounts. (FB) said that requests for user data from governments worldwide continued to increase. The semi-annual transparency report stated that 57 percent of the total 32,716 requests made by the government in the first half of 2017 demanded confidentiality.

Facebook law enforcement takedowns quadrupled in six months because of a school shooting video
Government requests for Facebook user data continue to increase worldwide

Today we are releasing our Transparency Report, previously called the Government Requests Report, for the first half of 2017.

Rising levels of data requests are by no means unique to Facebook - between 2013 - 2015, Google, Apple and Twitter likewise saw increases in government requests such information.

The countries that were most active in making requests to Facebook for account data were the U.S., India, the UK, Germany and France. In any case, a lot of that figure can be followed back to a deplorable shooting at a school in Mexico, which brought about Facebook confining access to 20,506 bits of substance.

Not all requests are secret, but 57 percent of those from the U.S. were accompanied with a non-disclosure agreement prohibiting the company from notifying the user.

When responding to requests, the company follows guidelines that are based on its own company policy and adapted to the relevant country's laws. That number's also up, from 50 percent in the previous report. On Instagram, the company removed 10,094 posts following 10,231 counterfeit claims. Facebook says it restricted 1,228 pieces of content in response to the request.


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