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Facebook releases report amid pressure

28 August 2013, 17:53

San Francisco – Facebook released its first “transparency report” on Tuesday showing the number of government data requests it receives, with the largest number coming from the United States, at least 11 000.

The report showed Facebook received between 11 000 and 12 000 requests for data in the United States, affecting between 20 000 and 21 000 users.

Facebook said the report includes “both criminal and national security requests” but without a detailed breakdown.

“We have reported the numbers for all criminal and national security requests to the maximum extent permitted by law,” a statement by the huge social network said.

“We continue to push the United States government to allow more transparency regarding these requests, including specific numbers and types of national security-related requests. We will publish updated information for the United States as soon as we obtain legal authorisation to do so.”

The report comes with US tech companies under pressure following revelations of a secret program which scoops up vast amounts of data from internet firms.

Tech firms including Facebook have been seeking to release more information on government data requests, in the belief that this would reassure customers.

Facebook's report follows the release of similar information from other tech firms including Google, Microsoft and Twitter.

The Facebook report said at least some data was released in 79% of US data requests.

“Transparency and trust are core values at Facebook,” the statement said.

“We strive to embody them in all aspects of our services, including our approach to responding to government data requests. We want to make sure that the people who use our service understand the nature and extent of the requests we receive and the strict policies and processes we have in place to handle them.”

The second largest number came from India, where 3 245 requests were made, affecting 4 144 users, Facebook said. The company provided at least some data in 50% of those cases.

- Sapa - AFP


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