Facebook Releases Figures For Government Spying Requests

Facebook and Spying Figures

Facebook and Spying Figures

Facebook on Friday released official numbers regarding the number of requests the US government made for customer information in 2012.

The social giant was the first tech company to publicly share government requests. In a blog post the social network claims that it received between 9,000 and 10,000 US requests for user data in the second half of 2012. Facebook says 18,000 to 19,000 user accounts were targeted. Based on those numbers only a very small percentage of Facebook’s 1.1 billion users were targeted.

While most of those requests were the result of routine police inquiries Facebook is not allowed to reveal justice department requests because of secret orders issued under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Facebook has worked with Google and Microsoft to urger US authorities to allow them to reveal the number and scope of the surveillance requests.

Mark Zuckerberg publicly took to his Facebook profile after details of the NSA PRISM program broke. In his post Zuckerberg promised that Facebook was not engaged in PRISM but was rather only listening to court ordered requests from government agencies.

On Friday the social network blog posted the following message:

“We hope this helps put into perspective the numbers involved and lays to rest some of the hyperbolic and false assertions in some recent press accounts about the frequency and scope of the data requests that we receive.”

Facebook for its part only complied with 79% of all government requests, most of the time simply turning over user’s email and IP addresses.

James Kosur

James Kosur has worked in the new media space for the last 10 years, helping many publications build their audiences to millions of monthly readers. He currently serves as the Director of Business Development at Business2Community.com and the CEO of Aven Enterprises LLC.


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