FACEBOOK revealed the number of data requests it received from various law enforcement agencies around the world in the second half of last year: 28,147. Those requests impacted a potential 38,256 accounts, according to the company.
Since Facebook only released its first report in August 2013, we can’t compare to see how these results compare to previous years. We can, however, compare the second half of 2013 (July to December) against the first half (January to June), as well as get a total for the full year.
The new numbers for the second half of last year are slightly higher than those for the first half (25,607 requests affecting 37,954 user accounts). For all of 2013, Facebook thus saw 53,754 government requests impacting a potential 66,101 accounts. That’s similar to how many Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo received last year.
Facebook also expanded its first report to include information not only about government requests for account information, but also about government requests to restrict or remove content from its service on the grounds that it violates local law. The company’s reasoning for this change is quite straightforward:
"Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to share, and to make the world more open and connected. Sometimes, the laws of a country interfere with that mission, by limiting what can be shared there."
Whether it is for content removal or account information, Facebook says it reviews each request to make sure it is legally sufficient. Just like almost every other tech firm, the company says it pushes back on requests that are overly broad, vague, or do not comply with legal standards.
Facebook also took the opportunity to remind everyone of the alleged surveillance efforts by the US government in other countries. This follows last month’s post by CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressing his frustration with US President Barack Obama over the phone.