Government requests of Facebook user data increase in 2015

Facebook reports that world’s governments demanding significantly more data from the company in order to track users they consider suspicious

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

The logo of Facebook is pictured on a window at new Facebook Innovation Hub during a media tour in Berlin, Germany, on February 24, 2016.

Facebook said on Thursday that global government requests for user account data increased by 13 percent in the second half of 2015, with the United States and India topping the list.

Government requests for account data increased to 46,763 from 41,214 in the first half of the year, the company said in a biannual report. The number of requests had jumped 18 percent in the first half of the year.

Government access to personal data from telephone and internet companies has become a bone of contention since former US spy agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked classified details of a program to collect bulk telephone metadata in 2013.

Governments often request basic subscriber information, IP addresses or account content, including people's posts online.

Facebook has about 1.65 billion regular users, or about one in every four people in the world.

Facebook said about 60 percent of requests in the United States had a non-disclosure order prohibiting the company from notifying the user of the government request.

This was the first time Facebook has included details on non-disclosure orders since it started issuing the global requests reports in 2013.

The global government requests report also revealed some interesting statistics on certain countries like Russia and Japan which made just four requests during the second half of 2015.

On content restrictions, France came first, India second, and Turkey third according to the recent Facebook release for the same period.

TRTWorld and agencies