Published On: Wed, Nov 5th, 2014

Facebook’s Government User Data Requests Up 24%

Requests by governments for Facebook’s user data are up by nearly a quarter in the first half of this year compared to the previous six months.Global government requests were up by 24% to almost 35,000 in the first six months, the social media giant said.

Requests by governments for Facebook's

The amount of Facebook content restricted because of local laws also rose about 19% in the same period.

News of the increase comes as Facebook fights its largest ever US court order to hand over data from 400 people.

Photographs, private messages and other information involving people in a benefit fraud trial were given to a New York court last year, but the request was only made public in August.

“We’re aggressively pursuing an appeal to a higher court to invalidate these sweeping warrants and to force the government to return the data it has seized,” the social media giant said in a blog on Tuesday.

The world’s largest social network also said that they “scrutinize” every government request for legal sufficiency and “push back hard when we find deficiencies or are served with overly broad requests.”

Privacy

Facebook has been under fire for its use of user data in recent years, fuelling online privacy concerns.

Last month, Facebook admitted that it would change the way it does research on users after a controversial experiment where it manipulated some users newsfeeds to affect their emotions.

Meanwhile, the tech giant has rolled out a series of features this year to help users protect their personal information.

In April, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg introduced new features that allowed users to limit the amount of personal information they share with third-party mobile apps.

In 2012, Facebook had settled privacy charges with US authorities over a case that it had deceived users and forced them to share more personal information than they had intended.

In September, Google reported a 15% increase in the number of requests in the first half of this year compared to the prior six months, and a 150% rise in the last five years, from governments around the world to reveal user information for criminal investigations.