|Facebook admits revealing user names, got 38,000 demands
Government agents in 74 countries demanded information on about 38,000 Facebook users in the first half of this year, with about half the orders coming from authorities in the US, the company said.
Facebook and other American technology companies such as Yahoo!, Google, and Microsoft have been criticized for helping the US National Security Agency illegally collect data on users.
The company said that in the first half this year there were 11,000-12,000 requests for data from US government institutions. Most were on crimes inquiries.
“We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests,'' Colin Stretch, Facebook's general counsel, said in a blog post. “When we are required to comply with a particular request, we frequently share only basic user information, such as name.''
Facebook and Twitter have become organizing platforms for activists. During anti-government protests in Turkey in May and June, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called social media “the worst menace to society.''
At the time, Facebook denied it provided information about protest organizers to the Turkish government.
Data released Tuesday show authorities in Turkey submitted 96 requests covering 173 users. Facebook said it provided some information in about 45 of those cases, but there's no information on what was turned over and why.
It's not clear from the Facebook data how many of the roughly 26,000 government requests on 38,000 users were for law enforcement purposes and how many were for intelligence gathering.—AP