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 contains every government request for data for the last six months of 2014, except for certain types of national security requests by the U.S. government during that time frame. The reporting of these national security requests is subject to a six-month reporting delay as mandated by the U.S. government. See here for more details.

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 first 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 second half of 2014. Consistent with the limitations set forth by the U.S. Government, we are permitted to disclose national security data in ranges, but we must delay release of some of this data by six months. We are continuing to advocate for the ability to be more transparent about the requests we receive.

Does Facebook plan to release these reports regularly?

Yes, we intend to release these reports regularly.

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 entities sometimes submit reports to Facebook and other Internet companies about content that is believed to violate 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. We have also included instances in which we have removed content that governments have identified as illegal 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 illegal content for people in Germany.

What do the content restriction numbers represent?

We report data on the number of pieces of content we have restricted because they are alleged to violate local laws. All such cases have been subject to legal review.

When responding to content that is reported as illegal in a country but does not violate Facebook’s own policies, we may restrict it from view in the reporting country, but will not remove it from our service.

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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