Governments are making more Facebook data requests than ever

"Fifty-seven percent of the data requests we received from law enforcement in the USA contained a non-disclosure order that prohibited us from notifying the user, up from 50% in our last report", said the company in a Facebook post announcing the report.

In the United States, the requests rose by 26% from the last six months of 2016 to the first six months of 2017, while globally, requests increased by about 21%.

Over half of those requests, some 57% of them included a non-disclosure order that stops Facebook from notifying the account holder of the request of data from the government. Each government had over half their submissions granted, with the United Kingdom (90 percent), U.S. (85 percent), and France (74 percent) in the lead.

Facebook's report includes requests for user data from Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram accounts. "Each and every request we receive is checked for legal sufficiency and we reject or require greater specificity on requests that are overly broad or vague", the social media firm said in a statement.

Social media company Facebook has revealed it removed almost 3 million posts in the first half of 2017 following IP infringement complaints.

The Government Request Report, now known as Transparency Report, updates on government requests for account data, content restrictions, and internet disruptions.

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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.

India become the second nation with 12% of data request and the U.S with 41% became first in the list.

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

The massive purge surge primarily stems from one video of a January school shooting in Monterrey, Mexico.

According to Facebook, the majority of content restricted was alleged to violate local laws relating to defamation of religion and hate speech. Facebook has revealed to respond around 63% of total requests.

Facebook removed 1,818,794 posts due to copyright infringement from the site in that period, and 685,996 posts from Instagram because of copyright infringement. On Instagram, it took action against 108,094 posts following 10,231 counterfeit claims.

  • Toni Ryan