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US Government Making More Requests For Data Than Ever, Says Facebook

20 December 2017

Facebook has published Government Data request report for year 2017 from January to June.

The U.S., India, UK, Germany, and France were the most dynamic in making information demands, representing 41 percent, 12 percent, nine percent, seven percent and six percent of the numbers, individually.

Most of these requests - about 32,716 - came from the US government, according to Facebook. The U.S. tech company restricted the content 20,056 times due to the law enforcement in the country's requests and concerns.

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The U.S. government made 32,716 requests for data in the latest period, up 26 percent from the second half of 2016, Facebook said in its latest report.

Facebook also received preservation requests, which ask that certain account records be saved, especially for matters of official criminal investigations for 90 days pending the receipt of the formal legal process.

The worldwide data on intellectual property-related takedowns is a new disclosure for Facebook as part of its biannual "Transparency Report", Chris Sonderby, a Deputy General Counsel at Facebook, said in a blog post.

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According to Facebook, the majority of content restricted was alleged to violate local laws relating to defamation of religion and hate speech.

Facebook did not, however, revealed the details of the accounts governments requested their data. In the second half of 2016, which is July to December period, India's data requests stood at 7,289, which shows the number has been steadily increasing.

In a foreword to the report, the company stated: "If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back, and will fight in court, if necessary". We continue to be deeply concerned by internet disruptions, which can create barriers for businesses and prevent people from sharing and communicating with their family and friends. This year has seen disruptions to WhatsApp, which is one of the biggest and most popular apps in the Indian market. On Instagram, it made a move against 108,094 posts following 10,231 fake cases. There were also over 110,000 pieces of Facebook content removed for trademark infringement, over 37,000 posts removed from Instagram for the same reason, and 14,279 counterfeit reports. Some 70,000 solicitations for copyright came to Instagram, with 685,000 bits of substance evacuated.

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US Government Making More Requests For Data Than Ever, Says Facebook