Facebook Inc. and Microsoft Corp. revealed Friday that they had received thousands of user data requests from the US authorities — including requests related to national security — in the second half of last year.
Facebook general counsel Ted Ullyot said in a statement that the company had received between 9,000 and 10,000 requests in the six months to December 31, 2012. The requests concerned between 18,000 and 19,000 user accounts, and came from local, state and federal bodies.
The move was intended to counter “hyperbolic and false assertions in some recent press accounts about the frequency and scope of the data requests,” the statement said, pointing out that Facebook had 1.1 billion monthly active users worldwide.
Facebook said it was releasing the data following a deal with the US government that allowed the firm to include national security-related requests in the figures for the first time.
The data release comes after whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed details of a US government data collection programme that targeted major internet companies.
Microsoft later released their data with national security-related requests also included.
For the same six-month period, Microsoft received between 6,000 and 7,000 criminal and national security warrants, said the company’s deputy general counsel John Frank. The requests concerned between 31,000 and 32,000 consumer accounts.