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Facebook Owner Meta Received 450,000 Government Requests for User Data in 2022




It seems Meta, formerly known as Facebook and the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, was bombarded with requests for data information by governments worldwide last year.

According to the company’s latest transparency report, in 2022, it had more than 450,000 government data requests affecting over 800,000 users. This staggering number has raised concerns about user privacy, data security, and the balance between law enforcement and individual rights.

These requests originated from more than 130 countries. The U.S. government alone sent data requests filed on 236,000 users. Meta responded by at least partially complying with 88.07 percent of these requests.

Germany’s requests affected 51,783 Meta user accounts. A significant number of requests were also made from government agencies in Israel, France, the UK, Poland, Belgium, Brazil, Singapore and Taiwan, Wire 19 reported.

Meta noted that the government data requests it receives are mostly related to criminal cases, such as robberies and kidnappings. The types of data disclosed can range from basic subscriber information, such as names and registration dates, to more sensitive information like IP address logs, account content, credit card details, and even location information.

“Government officials sometimes make requests for data about people who use Facebook as part of official investigations,” Meta explained. “The vast majority of these requests relate to criminal cases, such as robberies or kidnappings. 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.”

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Non-content data that Meta may disclose may include credit card information, email addresses, and recent login/logout IP addresses or other transactional information. Meta also said that, depending on the request, it may share messages, photos, videos, timeline posts, and location information, Bit Defender reported.

The Meta logo is seen at the Vivatech show in Paris, June 14, 2023. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)