Our Continuing Commitment to Transparency

Today, we are releasing our latest Transparency Report for the last half of 2020.

At Facebook, we’ve published biannual transparency reports since 2013 because we strive to be open and proactive in the way we safeguard users’ privacy, security and access to information online. While our initial reports focused on the nature and extent of government requests for user data, we have expanded our report over the years to include the volume of content restrictions based on local law, the number of global internet disruptions that limit access to our products and reports of intellectual property infringement. In this latest report, we’re expanding to include our proactive efforts to protect intellectual property rights. We’re also launching a redesign of our Transparency Center to make it easier for people to find what they need. Our Transparency Report also includes the Community Standards Enforcement Report for Q1 of 2021, which provides data on how we take action against violating content across our platforms. 

Government Requests for User Data

During the last six months of 2020, government requests for user data increased 10% from 173,592 to 191,013. Of the total volume, the US continues to submit the largest number of requests, followed by India, Germany, France, Brazil and the UK.

In the US, we received 61,262 requests, which was less than 1% fewer requests compared to the first half of 2020. Non-disclosure orders prohibiting Facebook from notifying the user increased to 69% in the second half of 2020. In addition, as a result of transparency updates introduced in the 2016 USA Freedom Act, the US government lifted the non-disclosure orders on 17 National Security Letters we received between 2010 and 2019. These requests, along with the US government’s authorization letters, are available below.

As we have said in prior reports, we always scrutinize every government request we receive to make sure it is legally valid, no matter which government makes the request.  We comply with government requests for user information only where we have a good-faith belief that the law requires us to do so. In addition, we assess whether a request is consistent with internationally recognized standards on human rights, including due process, privacy, free expression and the rule of law. When we do comply, we only produce information that is narrowly tailored to that request. If we determine that a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back and will fight in court, if necessary. We do not provide governments with “back doors” to people’s information. For more information about how we review and respond to government requests for user data and the safeguards we apply, please refer to our FAQs.

Content Restrictions

When content is reported as violating local law, but doesn’t go against our Community Standards, we may limit access to that content in the country where the local violation is alleged. During this reporting period, the volume of content restrictions based on local law increased globally 93% from 22,120 in H1 2020 to 42,606 in H2 2020, driven mainly by increases in requests from the UK, Turkey and Brazil.

Internet Disruptions

We oppose shutdowns, throttling and other disruptions of the internet or internet services and are deeply concerned by the trend towards this approach in some countries. Even temporary disruptions of internet services can undermine human rights and economic activity. That’s why we report the number of deliberate internet disruptions caused by governments around the world that impact the availability of our products. In the last half of 2020, we identified 91 disruptions of Facebook services in 18 countries, compared to 52 disruptions in nine countries in the first half of 2020.

Intellectual Property

Finally, we report on the volume and nature of copyright, trademark and counterfeit reports we receive each half as well as our proactive actions against potential piracy and counterfeits. During this reporting period, we took down 4,302,992 pieces of content based on 875,421 copyright reports, 584,088 pieces of content based on 310,418 trademark reports and 1,440,415 pieces of content based on 112,660 counterfeit reports. We also proactively removed 11,992,599 pieces of content for copyright reasons and 338,461,290 pieces of content for counterfeit reasons.

Publishing this report reflects our ongoing commitment to transparency.

You can see the full report for more information.


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