Facebook Says More Governments Are Requesting For User Data


Facebook reported last Wednesday in their bi-annual Government Requests Report that they have observed a spike in user data requests from various governments, as well as an increased amount of blocked content due to local laws.

Big brother is indeed watching Facebook's nearly one billion and a half users and in 2015 alone, requests from various governments to cough up user data increased by 18 percent.

Furthermore, reports detail that the United States leads the pack in requests for private user data – making up at least 60 percent of all requests globally.

User data requested may include basic profile information, account content, user posts, or even IP addresses.

Meanwhile, the report from Facebook also names India and Turkey as the countries that restricted the most content from the social media site because of violations of local laws.

European countries like the U.K., France and Germany have also increased their requests for data, as well as content restriction. In the case of Germany, Facebook suggested that the content requested for removal may likely be due to Holocaust denial.

According to Facebook, they are being transparent about the surge of requests from various governments on user data because they want to encourage a healthy balance between individual privacy and the lawful surveillance of citizens around the world.

"As we have emphasized before, Facebook does not provide any government with 'back doors' or direct access to people's data. We scrutinize each request we receive for legal sufficiency, whether from an authority in the U.S., Europe, or elsewhere," said Chris Sonderby on behalf of Facebook on a blog post.

"If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back hard and will fight in court, if necessary,” he added.

Yahoo, Apple, Alphabet (formerly Google), and Microsoft are other tech companies who began publishing transparency reports last year on the amount of government requests they receive for user data.

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