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Just a day after the head of the British intelligence and security organization GCHQ accused Facebook and other US tech firms of becoming "the command and control networks of choice" for terrorists, the social network released its latest Government Requests Report, revealing that user data requests made by governments across the world increased by almost a quarter in the first half of 2014, compared to the June - December period last year.
Global government requests for Facebook's user data increased 24 percent to around 35,000 between January and June, with nearly half of those requests coming from the United States. During the same time, the amount of content restricted because of local laws increased about 19 percent.
Facebook, which has an impressive monthly active user base of 1.35 billion, turned over the requested data (or at least part of it) in about 80 percent of those cases. "We scrutinise 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," said Chris Sonderby, Facebook's deputy general counsel, in a blog post.
The latest transparency report comes as Facebook fights what it described as its "largest ever" user data request – last year, a court in New York issued bulk search warrants demanding the social network to turn over nearly all data from the accounts of nearly 400 people. Although the company lost the case in lower court, it says it's aggressively pursuing an appeal to "invalidate these sweeping warrants and to force the government to return the data it has seized."