Facebook announced Wednesday that government requests for account data have surged in the first half of 2015, Reuters reported. The social media giant has reportedly been seeing a steady increase in such requests since it began releasing account data two years ago.
In a blog post, Facebook announced that global government requests for data jumped 18 percent from 35,051 requests in the second half of 2014 to 41,214 in the first half of this year. Facebook also said the amount of content restricted for violating local law more than doubled over the second half of 2014.
“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,” Facebook wrote.
The majority of government requests came from the U.S., with more than 17,577 coming from law enforcement, involving more than 26,500 accounts. Facebook reportedly handed over some data in 80 percent of those cases. Most requests often were related to criminal cases such as robberies and kidnappings. The requests often consisted of basic subscriber information, IP addresses or account content, including people's posts online.
In places where Facebook offers its social-networking services, India, Britain, France and Germany were the other top countries for the number of data requests. For the most content taken down for violating local laws, India and Turkey were the top countries.
"To protect people’s information, we will continue to apply a rigorous approach to every government request we receive,” Facebook wrote. “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.”