Facebook Notes User Data Requests From Governments Have Risen 24 Percent

Governments around the world are increasingly interested in what their citizens are doing on Facebook. According to the social network's third Government Requests Report, which provides information about the number of government data and content removal requests received during the first half of 2014, combined government requests rose 24 percent since the last half of 2013.

That works out to 34,946 requests for data. In addition, Facebook noted a 19 percent increase in the amount of content restricted because of local laws.

Image Source: Flickr (Maria Elena)

"As we’ve said before, we scrutinize every government request we receive for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and push back hard when we find deficiencies or are served with overly broad requests," Chris Sonderby, Facebook Deputy General Counsel, stated in a blog post.

The newly released report comes as Facebook challenges a court in New York demanding that it turn over almost all data from 400 user accounts. It's the largest single request for user data that Facebook as ever received, and in response, the social network argues that overly broad warrants violate its users privacy rights and flat out ignore constitutional safeguards against unreasonable searches and seizures.

"Despite a setback in the lower court, we’re aggressively pursuing an appeal to a higher court to invalidate these sweeping warrants and to force the government to return the data it has seized," Sonderby added.

What makes this information especially significant is the number of people that use Facebook, the world's largest social playground. Founded 10 years ago, Facebook is now home to 1.32 billion monthly active users, a figure that was accurate as of June 2014.