Governments around the world requested information on about 38,000 Facebook users in the first six months of 2013. Facebook’s Global Government Requests Report, released on Tuesday for the first time, and offered details on official requests from 74 countries.
The US government asked for information on about 20 000 users, UK authorities asked for information on 2 337 users.
Facebook said “We will continue to be aggressive advocates for greater disclosure”.
Facebook lawyer Colin Stretch said “We hope this report will be useful to our users in the ongoing debate about the proper standards for government requests for user information in official investigations. And while we view this compilation as an important first report – it will not be our last. In coming reports, we hope to be able to provide even more information about the requests we receive from law enforcement authorities”
It’s the first time such a think occurs for Facebook, that is to say the first time they released data relating to these kinds of requests. The report covers the first six months of 2013.
The company did not give a break-down of why the requests were made, instead just dividing the data by country, outlining how many requests were made, and how many users were involved. The company also said that it hoped to publish similar reports every six months from now on
Facebook also gave a percentage of how often the requests were successful, in the UK 68% were successful while US authorities were successful 79% of the time
Rights group Privacy International welcomed the publication but had wider concerns. They said that “Given Facebook’s ever-growing presence in the lives of people around the world, we commend them for releasing this report today, a release that has been a long time coming. However, we are left with a disturbingly hollow feeling regarding Facebook’s gesture, and it has little to do with Facebook itself.”
This news occurs this week with another event, in fact Facebook’s trial for the advert using personal data which started on April 2011, ended by a condemnation of Facebook. The news was announced this Monday 26 August 2013. Facebook will have to pay 20 million dollars as damage and interest to the users who lodge a complaint.