November 11, 2015
By Chris Sonderby, Deputy General Counsel
Today we are releasing our Global Government Requests Report as part of a broader effort to reform government surveillance in countries around the world by providing more transparency.
This report, which covers the first half of 2015, provides information about the number of government requests we receive for data, as well as the number of pieces of content restricted for violating local law in countries around the world where we provide service. The report also includes updated information about the national security requests we received from US authorities under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and through National Security Letters.
Overall, we continue to see an increase in content restrictions and government requests for data globally. The amount of content restricted for violating local law increased by 112% over the second half of 2014, to 20,568 pieces of content, up from 9,707. Government requests for account data increased across all countries by 18% over the same period, from 35,051 requests to 41,214. For more details, including a country-by-country breakdown of the data, please read the full report.
As we have emphasized before, Facebook does not provide any government with “back doors” or direct access to people’s data. We scrutinize each request we receive for legal sufficiency, whether from an authority in the U.S., Europe, or elsewhere. If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back hard and will fight in court, if necessary.
Over the last two years, we’ve regularly published information about the nature and extent of the requests we receive. To protect people’s information, we will continue to apply a rigorous approach to every government request we receive. We’ll also keep working with partners in industry and civil society to push governments around the world to reform surveillance in a way that protects their citizens’ safety and security while respecting their rights and freedoms.