US Government Making More Requests For Data Than Ever, Says Facebook

Audrey Hill
December 20, 2017

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

Compared to the first half of 2016, where the number of requests stood at 6,324, this is almost a 55 per cent jump for 2017.

Facebook also said that for the first time, it has expanded the report beyond government requests to provide data regarding reports from rights holders related to intellectual property - covering copyright, trademark and counterfeit. The governments of these countries had more than 50 percent of their requests granted. In the second half of 2016, which is July to December period, India's data requests stood at 7,289, which shows the number has been steadily increasing. Rightsholders can send takedown requests for unauthorised uses to a team of Facebook content analysts.

Worldwide requests for Facebook user data now significantly outnumber those received by Google, which recorded 48,941 requests concerning 83,345 accounts in first half of 2017. There were also over 110,000 pieces of Facebook content removed for trademark infringement, over 37,000 posts removed from Instagram for the same reason, and 14,279 counterfeit reports.

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Law enforcement authorities are permitted to confidentially request personal data from Facebook to obtain account details ranging from IP addresses, photos, messages, credit card details and email addresses. The United Kingdom was number three in the list with 6,845 user data requests and asking for access to 8,167 user accounts. However, sheer numbers demonstrate demands hit 78,890 in the central portion of 2017, an expansion of 33 percent year-on-year and 23 percent on the past half year time frame. If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back, and will fight in court, if necessary.

From January to June, Facebook restricted content 28,036 times, an uptick of 304 percent compared to last six months of 2016.

It, however, did not say exact;y what kind of information Dhaka had requested for.

Facebook's Transparency report 2017: Over 9,690 requests were regarding legal process with the government and they asked for access to 13,490 user accounts. On Instagram, it made a move against 108,094 posts following 10,231 fake cases.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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