Facebook: more than 25,000 government data requests
Facebook today said it received more than 25,000 government data requests in the first half of 2013, with the largest number from the US followed by India.
The company's first "transparency report" showed Facebook received between 11,000 and 12,000 requests for data in the United States, affecting between 20,000 and 21,000 users.
It also received more than 14,800 requests from 70 other countries.
Facebook said the report includes "both criminal and national security requests" but without a detailed breakdown.
"We have reported the numbers for all criminal and national security requests to the maximum extent permitted by law," a statement by the huge social network said.
"We continue to push the United States government to allow more transparency regarding these requests, including specific numbers and types of national security-related requests. We will publish updated information for the United States as soon as we obtain legal authorisation to do so."
The report comes with US tech companies under pressure following revelations of a secret program which scoops up vast amounts of data from Internet firms.
Tech firms including Facebook have been seeking to release more information on government data requests, in the belief that this would reassure customers.
Facebook's report follows the release of similar information from other tech firms including Google, Microsoft and Twitter.
The Facebook report said at least some data was released in 79 percent of US data requests.
"Transparency and trust are core values at Facebook," the company's general counsel Colin Stretch said.
"We strive to embody them in all aspects of our services, including our approach to responding to government data requests. We want to make sure that the people who use our service understand the nature and extent of the requests we receive and the strict policies and processes we have in place to handle them."
The second largest number came from India, where 3,245 requests were made, affecting 4,144 users, Facebook said. The company provided at least some data in 50 percent of those cases.
Facebook said that in the United States, it requires "a valid subpoena," court order or search warrant.
In other countries, Facebook said, "We disclose account records solely in accordance with our terms of service and applicable law."
Facebook said it has stringent processes in place to handle all government data requests.
"We scrutinise each request for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and require a detailed description of the legal and factual bases for each request," it said.
"We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests," it added.
Facebook is the latest technology company to release data on how often governments seek information about its customers. Google and Twitter have regularly come out with such data.
Social networking majors such as Facebook and Twitter have also become platforms for activists for raising voice and flaring anti-government sentiments.
According to a transparency report by Google, the most requests came from the US, with 8,438 requests for information about 14,868 users in July-September period last year.
India was second with 2,431 requests for data about 4,106 users for the period.
Similarly, a recent Twitter's transparency report had shown that US government, which has been in eye of a storm due to the snooping PRISM programme, had the lion's share in user data requests under it between January-June 2013, while India had less than 10 such requests.