Facebook Received 64,279 Government Requests for Account Data in the Second Half of 2016

The social network also received 6,944 requests for content restrictions

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Government requests for Facebook account data rose 9 percent in the second half of 2016 compared with the first half of the year, to 64,279 from 59,229, but requests for content restrictions for violating local laws were down 28 percent, to 6,944 from 9,663.

Deputy general counsel Chris Sonderby announced the release of Facebook’s Global Government Requests Report for the second half of 2016 in a Newsroom post, pointing out that the figures on requests for content restrictions for the first half of 2016 and the second half of 2015 were skewed by requests by France regarding a single image from the Nov. 13, 2015, Bataclan terrorist attack in Paris.

The top 10 countries in terms of request for account data during the second half of 2016 were:

  1. U.S., 26,014 from 41,492 accounts
  2. India, 7,289 from 9,932 accounts
  3. U.K., 6,366 from 7,952 accounts
  4. France, 4,478 from 5,195 accounts
  5. Germany, 4,422 from 5,631 accounts
  6. Italy, 1,876 from 3,230 accounts
  7. Brazil, 1,819 from 3,153 accounts
  8. Poland, 1,060 from 1,209 accounts
  9. Pakistan, 1,002 from 1,431 accounts
  10. Argentina, 995 from 1,394 accounts

And the top 10 countries in terms of content-restriction requests during the last six months of 2016 were:

  1. Brazil, 1,708
  2. Turkey, 1,111
  3. Germany, 919
  4. India, 719
  5. France, 683
  6. Israel, 661
  7. Austria, 659
  8. U.K., 177
  9. Russia, 121
  10. Argentina, 72

Sonderby wrote in the Newsroom post:

For the first time, we’re also including information about internet disruptions that impacted access to Facebook products and services during the half. Internet disruptions harm local economies and prevent people from sharing and communicating with their family and friends.

As we have previously emphasized, we apply a rigorous approach to every government request we receive to protect the information of the people who use our services. We scrutinize each request for legal sufficiency, no matter which country is making the request, and challenge those that are deficient or overly broad. We do not provide governments with “back doors” or direct access to people’s information.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.