Facebook Sees Surge In Info Requests From Governments During First Half Of Year

Facebook Sees Surge In Info Requests From Governments During First Half Of Year

Facebook is reportedly seeing more and more requests from government for information, as well as demand for content to be taken down.

Emma Mackenzie
Posted by Emma Mackenzie

Facebook’s Government report for the first half of this year has just been released, which looks at the number of governmental requests for data and the bits of content the platform restricts due to legalities.

Writing about the report in a blog post, deputy general counsel Chris Sonderby, said: “Overall, we continue to see an increase in content restrictions and government requests for data globally.”

The report, which you can download and have a look at here, sees Australia have 693 requests from Facebook for user data.

The number of accounts reference was 744, and the percentage of requests where some data was produced was 64.94 per cent.

On a global scale, government requests for data increased across all countries by 18 per cent.

Australia has only had one piece of content that has been restricted during the first half of the year. There isn’t data included in the report as to what that piece of content was.

From a global perspective, Sonderby said the amount of content restricted because it violated the law increased by 112 per cent from the second half of 2014.

Many countries had minimal amounts of data restricted, however both Turkey and India were in the thousands, at 4496 and 15,155 respectively.

Sonderby also made a point that the social media platform does not provide any government with “’back doors’ or “direct access to people’s data”.

“We scrutinise each request we receive for legal sufficiency, whether from an authority in the U.S., Europe, or elsewhere. If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back hard and will fight in court, if necessary,” he wrote.

“Over the last two years, we’ve regularly published information about the nature and extent of the requests we receive. To protect people’s information, we will continue to apply a rigorous approach to every government request we receive. We’ll also keep working with partners in industry and civil society to push governments around the world to reform surveillance in a way that protects their citizens’ safety and security while respecting their rights and freedoms.”

B&T has approached Facebook Australia for extra comment.