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Governments request user data from Facebook

Governments requesting user data from social media

Governments increasingly request user data from Facebook. During the second half of 2020 requests increased 10% to a total of 191,013. The largest number of requests came from the US followed by India, Germany, France, Brazil and the UK, Facebook’s transparency reports shows.

“In the US, we received 61,262 requests, which was less than 1% fewer requests compared to the first half of 2020. Non-disclosure orders prohibiting Facebook from notifying the user increased to 69% in the second half of 2020.”

“In addition, as a result of transparency updates introduced in the 2016 USA Freedom Act, the US government lifted the non-disclosure orders on 17 National Security Letters we received between 2010 and 2019,” says the report.


The company says it carefully scrutinizes requests from governments. “When we do comply, we only produce information that is narrowly tailored to that request. If we determine that a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back and will fight in court, if necessary. We do not provide governments with “back doors” to people’s information.”

“When content is reported as violating local law, but doesn’t go against our Community Standards, we may limit access to that content in the country where the local violation is alleged. During this reporting period, the volume of content restrictions based on local law increased globally 93% from 22 120 in H1 2020 to 42 606 in H2 2020, driven mainly by increases in requests from the UK, Turkey and Brazil.”

“Even temporary disruptions of internet services can undermine human rights and economic activity. In the last half of 2020, we identified 91 disruptions of Facebook services in 18 countries, compared to 52 disruptions in nine countries in the first half of 2020,” Facebook says.

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