Facebook: Government requests for user data grew by 13%

Facebook saw another spike in government requests for user data worldwide in the last six months of 2015, a report released by the the tech firm this week shows.

From July 2015 to December 2015, Facebook received 46,763 requests from governments for account data, an uptick of 13 percent. The social media company got 41,214 requests from January 2015 to June 2015.

Most users though, at least in the United States, don’t know that the information is being requested. For the first time, Facebook reported that about 60 percent of requests for user data from authorities in the United States contained a non-disclosure order that prevented the company from notifying the user.

“We scrutinize each request for user data we receive for legal sufficiency, no matter which country is making the request. If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back hard and will fight in court, if necessary,” wrote Facebook’s Chris Sonderby, Deputy General Counsel in a post about the topic.

In the United States, Facebook received 19,235 requests for data in the last six months of 2015 from 30,041 user accounts, the data shows. Most of this data was requested as part of search warrants from law enforcement.

The company also had a big spike in the content that they had to restrict because it violated local law, but said that the increase was because of a photo related to the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015 that violated France’s law about human dignity.

Overall, the company had to restrict 55,827 items for running afoul of the law, up from 20,568.

Photo: Facebook home page. (Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images)


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