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Facebook said the US government is making more secret requests for data than ever before

  • The number of data requests made by the U.S. government on Facebook users surged 26 percent in the first half of 2017 versus the last six months of 2016.
  • Fifty-seven percent of those requests came with confidentiality demands, up from 50 percent in the prior period.
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., speaks during an event in Menlo Park, California.
David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook Inc., speaks during an event in Menlo Park, California.

Facebook said Monday the U.S. government is making more secret requests for data about more users than ever before.

The government made 32,716 requests for data from the company in the first half of 2017, with 57 percent of those requests coming with demands for confidentiality, the company said in its semi-annual Transparency Report.

Those requests asked for data on 52,280 users, and the company provided such data 85 percent of the time.

The number of requests was up 25.7 percent from the 26,014 made during the last six months of 2016, Facebook said. Those requests covered 41,492 users, and Facebook produced data on 83.4 percent of them.

"Fifty-seven percent of the data requests we received from law enforcement in the U.S. contained a non-disclosure order that prohibited us from notifying the user, up from 50% in our last report," the company said in a Facebook post announcing the report.

The report also contained redacted copies of five U.S. requests for data that the company was not allowed to disclose previously due to national security concerns.

These national security letters were received from FBI offices in Michigan, California, Virginia and Florida between 2012 and 2015.

The company also said it received 352,889 copyright and trademark complaints during the first half of this year regarding content on Facebook and Instagram.