Facebook has revealed the extent of government spying on its social network users, following recent revalations surrounding the US PRISM web monitoring programme.
In a special report, Facebook revealed that governments around the world requested information on about 38,000 Facebook users in the first six months of 2013.
The Global Government Requests Report, offers details on official requests from 74 countries.
The US made by far the most requests, asking for information on between 20,000 and 21,000 users.
UK authorities requested Facebook hand over data on 2,337 users.
In a statement, Facebook lawyer Colin Stretch, said: “We will continue to be aggressive advocates for greater disclosure,” Facebook said. “We hope this report will be useful to our users in the ongoing debate about the proper standards for government requests for user information in official investigations. And while we view this compilation as an important first report – it will not be our last.”
Unlike other countries, which had an exact figure, the US data was given as a range due to it being forbidden for companies to disclose how many requests they have had.
“In coming reports, we hope to be able to provide even more information about the requests we receive from law enforcement authorities,”Stretch added.
The report covers the the first six months of 2013, ending 30 June, and is the first time Facebook has released data relating to these kind of requests.
The company said it hoped to publish similar reports every six months from now on, and hoped the report highlighted the “stringent processes” involved in the obtaining of user information.
The company did not give a break-down of why the requests were made, instead just dividing the data by country, outlining how many requests were made, and how many users were involved. Several users could be cited in one request.
Read the full report here