Facebook Transparency Report shows interesting insights about government data requests and its global disruptions

Facebook released its biannual Transparency report for the year 2020 this week and included insights from the Community Standards Enforcement Report as well.

According to the report, the company received 173,592 government requests for user data in the first half of 2020. This was a 23% increase from the 140,875 the company saw in the last six months of 2019.

The majority of requests were received from the USA, followed by India, Germany, France, and the UK. According to the reports, the USA government officials sent 61,528 requests – up 20% from the last six months of 2019.
In a Newsroom post, Facebook vice president and deputy general counsel Chris Sonderby wrote that the company complies with all requests they get from the government authorities. However, they do assess whether the request is consistent with internationally recognized standards on human rights. This includes due processes, privacy, freedom of expression, and the rule of law.

He further clarified that in no way Facebook provides government authorities with ‘back door’ access to people’s information.

As per the reports, Facebook saw over 50 disruptions in services during the first six months of 2020 most of which (80 percent) happened in India (particualrly in Jammu and Kashmir), while the figures were reported at 45 in six countries during the last half of 2019.

When it comes to content restrictions, Facebook reported a 40% increase globally in content restrictions and reached 22,120 from the 15,826 reported in the second half of 2019. The jump in content restrictions was related to the restrictions on Facebook and other social media platforms placed due to COVID-19.

Facebook also reported to take down 3,716,817 pieces of content based on 659,444 copyrights report, 404,078 pieces of content for 166,310 trademark reports, and 1,308,834 pieces of content based on 97,186 counterfeit reports.

Sonderby also gave credit to technology advances, including the Rights Manager tool for streamlining some of the operations.

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