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Friday, April 11, 2014
Facebook Updates Its Transparency Report

Facebook has released its second Government Requests Report, which is expanding beyond just offering a glimpse at the number of government requests for account information.

The latest report includes information not only about government requests for account information, but also about government requests to restrict or remove content from Facebook's service on the grounds that it violates local law.

"When we receive a government request seeking to enforce those laws, we review it with care, and, even where we conclude that it is legally sufficient, we only restrict access to content in the requesting country. We do not remove content from our service entirely unless we determine that it violates our community standards," said Colin , Facebook General Counsel.

Facebook takes a similar approach to government requests for account information. Once received a request for information, the company assesses whether it is legally required to comply. And when Facebook is required to provide information, in most instances Stretch says Facebook shares basic information only ? such as name and IP address.

In December 2013, Facebook and others in the industry launched Reform Government Surveillance, which set out principles advocating for more transparency and reform of surveillance laws and practices around the world.

In the second half of last year, Facebook received 28,147 requests, impacting a potential 38,256 accounts, according to the company.

For all of 2013, Facebook thus saw 53,754 government requests impacting a potential 66,101 accounts. That's similar to how many Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo received last year.

Looking at the United States between July and December 2013, Facebook said it received a total of 12,598 requests for information about 18,715 users. Facebook said it offered up data in regards to 81.02 percent of those requests.

Citing the legal mandate to wait six months to disclose Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requests, Facebook said it received between zero and 999 National Security Letter requests during the same six month time frame.

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