This might surprise many, but recently obtained statistics suggest that in just 6 months government requests for Facebook data has increased by 24%. This information was revealed by the social networking giant on Tuesday. Facebook further said that more than 50% of those requests have come from the US.
The period of six months mentioned above is from January to June, 2014. According to the numbers put up by the Menlo Park, California-based company in its recently released transparency report, this period saw governments from different parts of the world submit as many 34,946 requests for Facebook data. Out of these requests, 15,433 were made by the US; requests made by the US include queries on 23,667 Facebook accounts.
Facebook provided data in response to around 80% of all requests received by it. Here, it should be noted that a large share of these requests was part of subpoenas or search warrants; and since the final quarter of 2013, local laws caused removal or restriction of 19% of content.
Facebook released its first transparency report in June, 2013. The company decided to do so after it was revealed that the social media biggie shared users’ data with Prism, a confidential Internet surveillance project run by the National Security Agency.
Chris Sonderby, who currently operates as the deputy general counsel of Facebook, issued a statement saying that Facebook always scrutinizes all government requests it receives to ensure that they are legally sufficient under the company’s own terms and the terms and conditions set by law. Sonderby added that if his company identifies any deficiency in the requests or finds out that it has received an overly board request, it never shies away from pushing back.
The micro-blogging website Twitter, which happens to be one of the biggest rivals of Facebook, also receive government request for supplying users’ data. However, the number of requests received by Twitter is alarmingly less than that of Facebook.
During the six month period between January, 2014 and June, 2014, Twitter has received only 2,058 requests from governments. Twitter agreed to offer data against 73% of the requests. Here also, the majority of the requests have come from the US; the US government has made 1,257 users’ data requests to Twitter.
These facts have been revealed by Twitter’s transparency report released in September.
Google has also experienced 15% rise in such requests since the 2nd half of 2013; and the rise is 150% if compared to the number of requests received in 2009 i.e. when Google began offering such information.