Govt sought data on 310 Facebook accounts in 2nd half of last year

Facebook complied with 70% of 244 requests made by S'pore Govt, says transparency report

The Singapore Government made 244 requests to Facebook for information covering 310 accounts from July to December last year, revealed a transparency report released by the social media giant yesterday.

Facebook said it complied with 70 per cent of the requests, producing at least "some data".

The twice-yearly report details government requests for account data and the rate it complied with such requests, community standards enforcement, content restrictions and Internet disruptions.

The report breaks down the government requests into two categories: legal requests and emergency requests.

Legal requests are accompanied by legal process like a search warrant, and account records are disclosed according to Facebook's terms of service and the applicable law, it said on its website on guidelines for law enforcement.

Emergency requests include matters "involving imminent harm to a child or risk of death or serious physical injury to any person and requiring disclosure of information without delay".

  • 82,341 Data requests made to Facebook globally from last July to December.

INFORMATION REQUESTED

In many of these cases, these government requests seek basic subscriber information, such as name, registration date and length of service. Other requests may also seek IP address logs or account content.

FACEBOOK, in its report.

Of the 244 requests made by the Government in the second half of last year, all but three were legal requests.

The Government also made two requests to preserve two user accounts. This was done to preserve account records in connection with official criminal investigations for 90 days.

In the report, Facebook said the "vast majority" of government requests relate to criminal cases such as robberies or kidnappings.

It said: "In many of these cases, these government requests seek basic subscriber information, such as name, registration date and length of service. Other requests may also seek IP address logs or account content."

These requests also cover other apps owned by Facebook, such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus.

Globally, 82,341 requests were made, with the United States accounting for the bulk with 32,742 requests made, followed by India with 12,171.

This transparency report is the first since Facebook's data privacy scandal which surfaced in March, over revelations that London-based data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica allegedly gained unauthorised access to the personal information of more than 87 million Facebook users.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 17, 2018, with the headline 'Govt sought data on 310 Facebook accounts in 2nd half of last year'. Print Edition | Subscribe