Facebook Receives 173,592 Government Requests for User Data in 1H 2020


Facebook Thursday released its biannual Transparency Report for the first half of 2020, which also included its Community Standards Enforcement Report.

Vice president and deputy general counsel Chris Sonderby said in a Newsroom post Thursday that the company received 173,592 government requests for user data in the first six months of the year, up 23% from 140,875 in the second half of 2019.

The most requests came from the U.S.—61,528, up 20% from the last six months of last year—followed by India, Germany, France and the U.K.

Sonderby wrote, “We comply with government requests for user information only where we have a good-faith belief that the law requires us to do so. In addition, we assess whether a request is consistent with internationally recognized standards on human rights, including due process, privacy, free expression and the rule of law … We do not provide governments with direct access or ‘back doors’ to people’s information. We believe that intentionally weakening our services in this way would undermine the security necessary to protect our users.”

Facebook reported a 40% increase globally in content restrictions based on local law, to 22,120 from 15,826 in the second half of last year, attributing part of the jump to restrictions related to Covid-19.

Sonderby said there were 52 disruptions of Facebook services in nine countries during the first six months of 2020, up from 45 in six countries in the last six months of 2019.

Finally, Facebook took down 3,716,817 pieces of content based on 659,444 copyright reports; 404,078 pieces of content based on 166,310 trademark reports; and 1,308,834 pieces of content based on 97,186 counterfeit reports during the reporting period.

Sonderby attributed some of those increases to advances to the social network’s technology, including its Rights Manager tool.

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