Facebook report: U.S. government seeks information on 38,000 users

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Governments sought information on over 38,000 Facebook users in the first half of 2013 and the No. 1 social network complied with most requests, the firm said in its first report on the global scale of official data inquiries it receives.

The report follows allegations by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden that practically every major Internet company -- including Facebook, Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. -- routinely hands over data on potentially millions of users to national intelligence agencies.

Facebook has more than 1 billion users worldwide.

U.S. law enforcement authorities were the most active in mining Facebook, seeking information on about 20,000 to 21,000 users between January and June. That is a slight rise from the six months between June and December 2012, when U.S. agencies requested information on roughly 18,000 to 19,000 Facebook accounts, according to figures the company previously released.

Facebook has at least partially complied to about 80 percent of those requests, the company acknowledged Tuesday. Authorities in other countries with large Facebook user bases, including India, the United Kingdom and Germany, also requested information on thousands of users.

Facebook, which disclosed the figures in its first "Global Government Requests Report," said it individually scrutinized every information request and required governments to meet a "very high legal bar" to receive user data.

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