Governments around the world requested information on about 38,000 Facebook users in the first six months of 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-23852230 Facebook’s Global Government Requests Report, released on Tuesday for the first time, offered details on official requests from 74 countries.
The US made by far the most requests, asking for information on between 20,000 and 21,000 users.
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. Several users could be cited in one request.
In the UK, Facebook complied with 68%, while US authorities were successful 79% of the time.
Of particular interest were figures for countries affected by civil unrest.
In Turkey, 96 requests were made, covering 173 users, of which 45 were complied with – but the firm insisted this was for claims related to “child endangerment and emergency law enforcement”.
No requests made by the Egyptian authorities were complied with, according to the report.
Rights group Privacy International welcomed the publication but had wider concerns.
“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,” it said.
“However, we are left with a disturbingly hollow feeling regarding Facebook’s gesture, and it has little to do with Facebook itself.
“Since documents leaked by Edward Snowden have been published and analysed, the veil has been lifted on what information governments actually collect about us.
“We are now aware of a terrifying reality – that governments don’t necessarily need intermediaries like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft to get our data.”