Facebook removed almost 3 million infringing posts in first half of 2017

Facebook continues to see increases in the number of requests for private user data from governments around the globe, according to the latest Transparency Report released by the social network.

Facebook also said that for the first time, it has expanded the report beyond government requests to provide data regarding reports from rights holders related to intellectual property - covering copyright, trademark and counterfeit. Facebook also revealed that at least 50% of the requests from each of these countries was granted, including 85% for the USA, 90% for the United Kingdom and 74% for France. Those requests rose from 64,279 in the second half of 2016 to 78,890.

There has also been a slight increase in the percentage of requests that have prompted data to be disclosed.

Social media company Facebook has revealed it removed almost 3 million posts in the first half of 2017 following IP infringement complaints.

Not all requests are secret, but 57 percent of those from the USA were accompanied with a non-disclosure agreement prohibiting the company from notifying the user. Compared to this time a year ago, the number of requests from the United States has grown from 23,854 to 32,716, while those from the UK, Germany and France rose by 1,376, 1,516 and 937, respectively. This increase was primarily driven by a request from Mexican law enforcement to remove instances of a video depicting a school shooting in Monterrey in January. "If a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back, and will fight in court, if necessary", Facebook's Deputy General Counsel Chris Sonderby said in a blog post.

A "small fraction" of requests were excluded because they were not sent through an official form, Facebook said. Based on legal requests from the Pakistan Telecom Authority and Federal Investigation Agency, Facebook restricted access to items that were alleged to violate local laws prohibiting blasphemy and condemnation of the country's independence.

More than 1,800 requests were so-called "emergency disclosures", which are granted to law enforcement on a case-by-case basis, and are a subject of some controversy. About 60 percent of the reports related to suspected copyright violations on Facebook. The company stated that they are concerned about the internet disruptions, which can be a hurdle to the businesses and restrict people from sharing and communicating with their family and friends.

  • Joey Payne