Facebook released its Global Government Requests Report this week. In the document, the social network site reported that requests for user data surged across the board. In the first half of 2015, requests from government agencies and law enforcement groups for Facebook user data rose 18 percent worldwide. Government requests for account data increased from 35,051 requests to 41,214 across all countries.
Governments around the world have increased their censorship of the social media site, according to Facebook’s report. Most of the censorship is in the form of denying users access to certain content on the platform. The increase in content restricted for violating local law was about 112 percent over the second half of 2014. That figure amounted to 20,568 pieces of content, up from 9,707.
The highest number of user data requests came from authorities in the United States. The U.S. government and assorted law enforcement agencies requested information on 17,577 individuals spanning 26,579 accounts in the first half of 2015. Facebook acknowledged that the company complied with roughly 80 percent of the requests. In 2014, information on 15,433 accounts was requested by American authorities.
During the first half of the year, authorities in India ordered Facebook to restrict access to 15,155 pieces of content, making India the most highly censored place for Facebook. Turkey, the next most restrictive nation, made less than a third of the total censorship requests that India made.
Facebook said that each received request is scrutinized for legal sufficiency regardless of where the request originated from. Any request that is deemed to be deficient or overly broad is rejected and Facebook is willing to fight in court to uphold the rejection. The number of rejected requests overturned by the courts remains unknown.
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