Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Facebook's first transparency report - U.S. and India on top with highest government intervention

Facebook released its first ever transparency report. Colin Stretch, the Facebook general counsel said,
"We scrutinise each request for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and require a detailed description of the legal and factual bases for each request. We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests. When we are required to comply with a particular request, we frequently share only basic user information, such as name."
The top 5 countries included U.S., India, U.K., Germany and Italy (below). Surprisingly among these five countries, India had the least amount of requests per million users on Facebook. Germany was the highest with 73 requests per million Facebook users. United States was also significantly high considering they have over 180 million Facebook users.

Country
Total Requests
Number of Users 
(in millions)
Requests per million
Percentage of requests where some data produced
United States
12,000
180
67
79.00%
India
3245
88
37
50.00%
United Kingdom
1975
36
55
68.00%
Germany
1886
26
73
37.00%
Italy
1705
24
71
53.00%

The following chart represents the countries with total number of requests (Deeper red indicated greater requests). This report is a first by Facebook but is something Google has been doing for years.

The following figure shows completion rate of the requests by Facebook (deeper green representing higher completion rate). Google in April released its transparency report, its 7th since it first started revealing government interventions since 2010.

Click to enlarge

This attempt by Facebook can be described a way to be at parity in terms of best practices by internet firms but also an attempt to indirectly disclose the increasing pressure by governments to disclose information.

What do you think?