Sarah Jean Seman

Facebook claims it values transparency and trust—two core traits the federal government lacks.

For the first time Facebook released a “Global Government Requests Report” detailing which countries requested (or required) information from the social media site as of June 30, 2013.

Over 38,000 users and accounts were opened to government scrutiny. Nearly 25,000 of these were Americans being surveyed by the federal government. 

Facebook was legally obligated to comply with 79 percent of the United States’ inquiries. Laws applicable to the requirements include the 1986 Stored Communications Act. This act requires information be shared when a criminal subpoena is issued. 

Subscriber information, length of service, IP address logs and account content are some of the information types that have been dispensed.

“We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests,” Colin Stretct, Facebook General Counsel, stated in the report. 

The seventy-one exposed countries in the report made more than 26,000 inquires. Eleven thousand requests came from the United States federal government. 

The only other countries to make over a thousand requests were France, Germany, India, Italy, and the United Kingdom. 

“Government transparency and public safety are not mutually exclusive ideals. Each can exist simultaneously in free and open societies, and they help make us stronger,” Facebook said.

The company believes the nature and extent of the government requests should be understood by social media users. Facebook intends to continue regular Global Government Report Requests.


Sarah Jean Seman

Sarah Jean Seman is a Townhall Web Editor. Follow Sarah Jean Seman on Twitter @sarah_jean_

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography