As part of our ongoing effort to share more information about the requests we have received from governments around the world, Facebook is pleased to provide our third Government Requests Report. We’re publishing this information because we want people to understand the nature and extent of these requests and the strict policies and processes we have in place to handle them.
For government requests for account data, this report lists the countries that made the request; the number of requests received from each of those countries; the number of accounts specified in those requests; and the percentage of requests in which we were required by law to disclose at least some data.
For government requests to restrict access to content, this report provides the number of pieces of content restricted due to violations of local law.
The report will be updated on a regular basis.
Government officials sometimes make requests for data about people who use Facebook as part of official investigations. The vast majority of these requests relate to criminal cases, such as robberies or kidnappings. In many of these cases, these government requests seek basic subscriber information, such as name and length of service. Other requests have asked for IP address logs or actual account content.
We have strict processes in place to handle these government requests. Each and every request we receive is checked for legal sufficiency. We require officials to provide a detailed description of the legal and factual basis for their request, and we push back when we find legal deficiencies or overly broad or vague demands for information. Even where we determine that local law would compel disclosure, we frequently share only basic subscriber information.
You can read more about our approach to responding to government requests here.
When governments believe that something on the Internet violates their laws, they may contact companies like Facebook to restrict access to that content.
Requests are scrutinized to determine if the specified content does indeed violate local laws. If, after a thorough legal analysis, we determine content appears to violate local law, then we make it unavailable in the relevant country or territory.
We have included in this report instances in which we have removed content that governments have identified as illegal, including those instances that may have been brought to our attention by non-government entities, such as NGOs or charities. For example, Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany, and so if it is reported to us we will restrict this content for people in Germany.