What is this report and why are you releasing it?

This report is part of our ongoing effort to share more information about the requests we receive from governments in countries where our service is available. This report provides country-level information, consistent with applicable law, about 1) government requests for data about people who use the Facebook family of products including Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram and 2) about content restrictions in places where our services are otherwise available. We intend to release this information on a regular basis.

Government and Law Enforcement Requests for Data

What is a government data request?

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, registration date and length of service. Other requests may also seek IP address logs or account content. We have strict guidelines in place to deal with all government data requests: https://www.facebook.com/safety/groups/law/guidelines/

Do you report every data request that you have received from every government around the world?

This report covers all government requests for data for the first six months of 2015, except for certain types of national security requests by the U.S. government, which are subject to a reporting delay as mandated by law.

Do you report data on U.S. national security requests?

Yes. We report the number and nature of U.S. national security data requests for the second half of 2014, including breakdowns of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act orders that seek the content of accounts or non-content information (such as subscriber name), all within ranges of 1000. The report also includes information about the number of National Security Letters we received and the number of accounts specified in those requests (within ranges) for the first half of 2015. By law, we are only permitted to disclose national security data in ranges and must delay the release of some of this data.

What is non-content data?

Non-content data information may include person’s name, location and IP history.

Do you report the number of requests you receive via the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) process?

Yes. Requests received through the MLAT process are included in our report. We are unable to identify the precise number of requests we received through this channel since they result in the issuance of a search warrant or court order under U.S. law and do not always indicate that they are the product of an MLAT request.

MLATs provide a formal mechanism for countries to cooperate in criminal cases. Countries that have an MLAT with the United States may use this channel to seek data from a provider such as Facebook.

Government Requests to Restrict Access to Content

What is a government request to restrict content?

Government sometimes ask companies like Facebook to restrict access to content that they believe violates local law. If, after careful legal review, we find that the content is illegal under local law, then we make it unavailable only in the relevant country or territory. This report provides country-level information about government requests to restrict content in places where our services are otherwise available.

What do the content restriction numbers represent?

This report provides country-level information about requests from governments around the world to restrict content. 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 members of the Facebook community, NGOs and charities. For example, Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany so if it is reported to us we will restrict this content for people in Germany.

Do you report government requests to remove content that violates Facebook’s Community Standards?

No. The report does not include government requests regarding content that violates Facebook’s Community Standards, such as child exploitation material. If a reported piece of content violates our Community Standards, then we will remove it completely from our site.

Want more information about our reports?

Visit About the Reports

View the Government Requests Report

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