Social media giant Facebook has revealed that requests from the U.S. government for user data has increased. In this year’s first half there were 32,716 data requests from the U.S. government. This was an increase of 26% from the previous half. Facebook disclosed this in its transparency report which is released on a semi-annual basis.
User data requests also went up across the globe in this year’s first half compared to last year’s second half. In 85% of the cases Facebook was able to meet the requests.
Besides user data requests from governments Facebook also provided information on complains it had received regarding trademarks and copyrights. In this year’s first half there were 352,889 complaints on trademark and copyright on Facebook’s main platform as well as on Instagram. The Menlo Park, California-based social media giant ended up removing close to three million posts which were found to be in violation of intellectual property rights.
Federal Cartel Office
The transparency report released by Facebook comes in the wake of the social media giant coming under fire from the Federal Cartel Office of Germany over its practices regarding collecting user information and then using that data to serve ads.
According to the FCO users are in the dark regarding how the dominant social network in Germany collects data on their visits to other websites. The users also appear not to have consented to how that particular data should be used by the social media platform.
“We are mostly concerned about the collection of data outside Facebook’s social network and the merging of this data into a user’s Facebook account. We are not convinced that users have given their effective consent…” said the president of Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, Andreas Mundt, in a statement.
It is understood that German regulators may move to demand that Facebook make changes aimed at addressing the issue. The FCO will not make a final decision before mid-next year and in the end the case could be closed or the regulator could come to an agreement with Facebook. Alternatively Facebook may be issued with an order demanding that it stops certain behavior.
In response Facebook denied that it was abusing its dominant market position. The social media giant also added that it was cooperating with officials in order handle issues concerning privacy. While privacy advocates welcomed the move, some financial analysts noted that regulation will remain to be a big concern for Facebook in the long term.