20Jan 2020



Alarming Growth in Facebook Data Requests

facebook data request

With Facebook being the biggest social network in existence, it is naturally the ultimate place for finding information on anyone. With users in the billions, everyone around the world has some sort of existence on Facebook and its associated platforms. This giant information bubble attracts everyone’s attention, especially governments. Facebook, in their latest report on transparency, has received a record-high number of information requests from governments. The total number of Facebook data requests received during the first half of 2019 were more than 128,000! That is a massive and alarming number by all accounts.

What is even more alarming is that more than nearly 51,000 requests came from the US government alone! And if that was not enough, Facebook actually complied with these requests almost 90% of the time! The cherry on the top was the fact that they also gave a gag order to Facebook which meant the users did not receive any update from Facebook that their data was requested.

India had the second-highest request numbers with more than 33,000 requests for Facebook data download. Facebook actually complied with more than half of those requests. Other countries in highlights are Germany, the UK, and France, each having put in around 5000 Facebook data requests each.

Facebook’s Content Moderation

When it comes to Facebook data, the company itself adheres to very strict policies on what kind of data is allowed. You can’t just post anything you want as there are people watching activity very closely. In 2018, Facebook removed more than 5.8 million pieces of content related to sexual exploitation and child porn. That number literally doubled this year with more than 11.6 million pieces removed from the website. Another new thing that the latest report contains is information on is the moderation of Instagram content as well. The total number of posts removed on Instagram are 1.68 million!

How Facebook Shares Data?

According to the laws of the US and Facebook’s own privacy policies, there has to be a very legitimate legal reason for Facebook to divulge user information. Most of the requests where Facebook data policy permits disclosure of information are related to criminal cases. Typically the information requested includes name, IP address history, date of registration and the content posted by that person. Some requests also ask for other personal data like phone numbers and email addresses.

The Facebook data policy also says that if a request is made, the user will be notified about the request unless they are legally bound from doing so. You may get a notice after some delay after the NDA period expires. However, that still makes things a little iffy for a lot of people.

How to protect yourself?

When it comes to tracking someone online, the biggest clue is the IP location of the person. To prevent your IP location from leaking, you can choose to use a VPN service like VPN Shazam’s Turbo Dynamic VPN and let it do its magic. However, the only way to truly stop your Facebook data download is to stop using all the social media platforms altogether or find alternatives.