Facebook, as well as any other major communication platform, can be used to facilitate a dialogue for various purposes, most of them good or harmless, but some of them quite nefarious. As such, governments request the help of these companies to monitor and provide information about specific users.
Facebook has recently released its newest transparency report. It details the number of requests made by governments around the world for Facebook user data, for the first six months of 2017. The report reveals that there has been a 27 percent increase in government requests compared to the last half of 2015. The total number of requests in the six-month period grew from 46,710 to 59, 229.
The company’s report also reveals that the majority of requests were issued by various US law enforcement agencies, 56 percent of total requests. They also contained a non-disclosure clause which prevents Facebook from notifying the user whose data has been requested.
The latest report also shows the detailed number of requests made by various governments regarding the restriction of content in response to posts which violate certain laws of a country. These requests have decreased by 83 percent in the first half of 2017, from a total of 55, 827 in 2017 to just 9,663.
It’s worth noting that these numbers do not necessarily point to a general decline in government requests. Last year’s number were drastically elevated due to the requests made regarding a single image for the Paris terrorist attacks in November.
The latest report also shows for the time, the number of requests made by governments regarding the preservation of account user data until they the form legal processes is completed. This means that while Facebook will preserve user data requested by law enforcement, however, the company won’t release it until it receives the formal and valid legal process. Facebook reveals that it received a number of 38, 675 requests regarding preservation for a total of 67,129 accounts.
A new statistic included in the report consists in the number of emergency requests to other countries than just the US. These requests were issued in cases where authorities believed there was a high-risk imminent injury or death. During early 2016, Facebook received 3,016 such emergency requests for 4,192 accounts.
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