About Government Requests

Publishing Information about Government Requests to Facebook

As part of our ongoing effort to share more information about the requests we have received from governments around the world, Facebook regularly produces a report on government requests to Facebook. We publish this information about requests related to our various products and services (including Facebook, Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram) because we want people to understand the nature and extent of these requests and the strict policies and processes we have in place to handle them.

For government requests for account data, this report lists the country that made the request; the number of requests received from each country; the number of accounts specified in those requests; and the percentage of requests in which we disclosed at least some data.

For requests to restrict access to content based on local law, this report provides the number of items restricted due to alleged violations of local law in countries where we provide service.

The report will be updated on a regular basis.

Government Requests for Data

As part of official investigations, government officials sometimes request data about people who use Facebook. The vast majority of these requests relate to criminal cases, such as robberies or kidnappings. In many of these cases, the government is requesting basic subscriber information, such as name and length of service. Requests may also ask for IP address logs or account content.

We have strict processes in place to handle these government requests. Every request we receive is checked for legal sufficiency. We require officials to provide a detailed description of the legal and factual basis for their request, and we push back when we find legal deficiencies or overly broad or vague demands for information. We frequently share only basic subscriber information.

You may read more about our approach to responding to government requests here.

Requests to Restrict Access to Content Based on Local Law

When governments believe that something on the Internet violates their laws, they may contact companies like Facebook and ask us to restrict access to that content. When we receive such a request, it is scrutinized to determine if the specified content does indeed violate local laws. If we determine that it does, then we make it unavailable in the relevant country or territory. For example, Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany so if it is reported to us we will restrict this content for people in Germany.

This report also provides country-level information about content restrictions in places where our services are otherwise available. We have included instances in which we have removed content that governments have identified as illegal, as well as instances that may have been brought to our attention by non-government entities, such as NGOs, charities, and members of the Facebook community.

Looking for more details?

Our approach to responding to government requests can be found within our Law Enforcement Guidelines

Other Reports

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