It may not be news that Facebook users want to hear, but the company has reported a small increase in the number of government user requests recently. In the second half of 2014, Facebook Inc. has received numerous requests from various governments for user data.
The number of requests during the second half of 2014 rose from 34,946 to 35,051. Facebook also reports that requests from the U.S. government were lower than they were in the first half, though requests from other governments were much higher.
Topping the List
The governments that have been requesting the most information include India and Turkey while both the U.S. and Germany requested less information. Facebook has said before, and now the company is repeating that same stance, that they will push back against any government requests the social network finds deficiencies. The company also states that every request is carefully analyzed before any user data is provided.
Facebook has long been on a crusade to get some governments to loosen their grip when it comes to citizen censorship. The company’s goal is to work with governments when requests are founded, but to also help some governments understand that some information needs to remain private. When necessary, Facebook dose divulge user details, though the company has been adamant about not letting governments access user information steadily.
It is not unusual for social networks like Facebook to receive government requests to remove content that is illegal in certain parts of the world. In these cases, Facebook has stated that the company will simply restrict access to that content for users living in those countries where the information is prohibited, but the company will not restrict access to the same content for all users.
Companies like Facebook face many legal challenges when it comes to the type of content displayed. Every country around the world has a different set of laws when it comes to what is legal and illegal as far as content and user posts are concerned, and Facebook has to try and abide by all of these details - something that is not easy to do by any means. Facebook is constantly facing government requests for user data, and challenging those requests while also making sure that all laws are abided by.
Last year, in an effort to seem more transparent to users, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Google all decided to publish any details related to government requests for user information. The public responded favorably to this move, though some governments are less than thrilled that requests are now being published.
To comply with some government rules and other regulations, Facebook has also updated its community rules to let users know what types of posts are prohibited, and which types of posts are allowed on the network. This was meant with some pushback from users, though Facebook claims it’s the only way to ensure that both users and governments are appeased. To see the details of the recent requests, visit Facebook’s main blog.