Governments are making more Facebook data requests than ever

Facebook law enforcement takedowns quadrupled in six months because of a school shooting video

Facebook says that 57 percent of U.S. government requests for user data in the first half of 2017 came with a secrecy order prohibiting it from notifying affected users.

Specifically, Facebook restricted content for apparently violating law 28,036 times in the first six months of 2017, compared to 6,944 from the prior half-year.

While all requests are reviewed by Facebook, the figures also revealed that most were approved, with the United Kingdom (90 per cent), the U.S. (85 per cent) and France (74 per cent) all notable for their high level of request approval. In the second half of previous year, that figure stood at 64,276.

There has also been a slight increase in the percentage of requests that have prompted data to be disclosed. "Each and every request we receive is checked for legal sufficiency and we reject or require greater specificity on requests that are overly broad or vague", the social media firm said in a statement. Facebook said 217,265 of content on its social network were removed after it acted on 81 percent of 14,279 claims in the first half of the year.

If one looks at the entire data shared in Facebook's Transparency report, India is number two in the list after the United States when it comes to the volume of requests.

"Fifty-seven percent of the data requests we received from law enforcement in the USA contained a non-disclosure order that prohibited us from notifying the user, up from 50% in our last report", Facebook Deputy General Counsel Chris Sonderby said in a blog post. Next was India with 12 percent, then the United Kingdom (9 percent), Germany (7 percent), and France (6 percent).

The worldwide data on intellectual property-related takedowns is a new disclosure for Facebook as part of its biannual "Transparency Report", Chris Sonderby, a Deputy General Counsel at Facebook, said in a blog post.

Facebook had seen a big increase in the number of requests to stop people seeing content that broke local laws, said Mr Sonderby. Facebook has revealed to respond around 63% of total requests. Overall, Facebook restricted 20,527 pieces of content reported by Mexican authorities. About 60 percent of the reports related to suspected copyright violations on Facebook. Around 70,000 requests for copyright were submitted to Instagram, with 685,000 posts removed.

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