Singapore Government requested data on 310 Facebook accounts in the second half of 2017

A computer screen displaying the logo of social networking site Facebook in Manchester, England. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Government made 244 requests to Facebook for information covering 310 accounts from July to December last year, according to transparency report released by the social media giant on Wednesday (May 16).

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 they 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".

Of the 244 requests made by the Singapore 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, Oculus and WhatsApp.

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

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

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