The company says it gets tens of thousands of government data requests each year. These include warrants to search data, pressure to restrict content, and subpoenas. In the United States, requests through the first six months of this year increased 26% compared to the closing six months of 2016.
Facebook started giving data to governments in 2013. Since then, the number of requests in the US has been on an upward trend, nearly tripling in four years. For the most part, the company works with governments. For 85% of requests during the first six months of 2017, “some data was produced”.
“We continue to carefully scrutinize each request we receive for account data — whether from an authority in the U.S., Europe, or elsewhere — to make sure it is legally sufficient,” says Chris Sonderby, the company’s general counsel. “If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back, and will fight in court, if necessary.”
Some people may be worried to see that 57% of US government requests had non-disclosure orders. This means Facebook was legally forbidden from publically saying data was requested, or telling users. These secretive requests increased by 50% from 2016 to 2017.
Facebook’s transparency report is fully interactive. It allows users to click on a region and choose a country to see information on data requests.
Yesterday, the United States government confirmed Microsoft and Facebook thwarted a cyber-attack originating in North Korea. The attack was confirmed by the White House. However, no details were given on how the companies blocked the attack, or what type of threat it was.