Facebook released more than its gloat-worthy earnings report this week. The social network also put out its most recent transparency report, detailing the many occurrences when governments worldwide requested it hand over data on its users.
Facebook’s newest Global Government Request Report breaks down government petitions filed with the site over the latter part of 2015. The report also details how many accounts were included across all requests, as well as how many of those requests were the acted upon.
According to the report, government requests rose 13% from the first half of the year to the second, going up from 41,214 to 46,763. Items restricted due to violating local law also rose from 20,568 to 55,827 by the end of the year.
And for the first time, Facebook was able to relay exactly what type of requests were made by the US government, thanks to changes in the country’s legal system.
For example, of the 19,235 requests made by the US government for information on over 30,000 accounts – of which Facebook agreed to 81% of – more than half came with search warrants.
Also, 60% of US government requests received in the past year packed a non-disclosure order, meaning that users couldn’t be notified if Facebook carried out the request.
The company also detailed how many posts were taken down by authorities in different countries.
One example included blocking 366 pieces of content in Germany that didn’t comply with the country’s ban on volksverhetzung (incitement of hatred) or Holocaust denial.
Facebook also said that in France, 32,100 of the 37,695 take down cases were for a single photo related to the November 2015 Paris terror attacks, citing French laws “related to protecting human dignity.”
The social network reassured the public that it doesn’t give governments “backdoor access” to its site, meaning that any information supplied by Facebook to authorities is handled exclusively in-house. (That’s not to say that the company doesn’t have any backdoors – that fact was discovered recently by a white hat hacker who, thankfully, was working with Facebook to patch up vulnerabilities.)
Facebook’s stance on transparency and user security go hand-in-hand. The company says that it “scrutinizes each request for user data… for legal sufficiency” and supports privacy initiatives like the United States’ Email Privacy Act, which would require search warrants before law enforcement can ask tech companies to hand over someone’s emails.
Facebook has been providing data on government requests since 2013, and data as far back as January 2013 – June 2013 is available to view.