THE SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook received a record number of government requests for user data during the first half of 2019, according to its latest Transparency Report.
The report indicates that government data demands surged 16 per cent to 128,617 during the first six months of 2019, compared to the second half of 2018.
The social media giant received 50,741 requests from the US government, of which two-thirds came with gag orders, preventing Facebook from telling individual users about those requests.
In response, the company handed over data to US authorities in about 88 per cent of the cases.
For the first time, Facebook also included Instagram in the report and disclosed how it moderates content related to self-harm, child exploitation, drug sales and terrorist propaganda.
Facebook said it deleted nearly 3.2 billion fake accounts between April and September this year, more than double the number of fake accounts removed during the same period last year (about 1.55 million).
In addition, nearly 11.6 million content pieces showing child nudity and exploitation were removed from Facebook platform during the third quarter of 2019, up from the first and second quarters when Facebook removed about 5.8 million and 512,000 posts, respectively.
Almost 754,000 pieces were removed from Instagram for showing child abuse content in Q3.
In terms of drug sale content, Facebook removed about 4.4 million such pieces In Q3 2019, up from 841,000 in Q1, and nearly 1.5 million posts were yanked from Instagram during the quarter.
And in the area of hate speech, Facebook said it removed 80 per cent of hate content before it was reported by users.
"We are going to keep publishing these reports so people can see the scale of these issues and hold us accountable for improving our systems," Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a press conference held on Wednesday. "This work is never finished."
Facebook's transparency report arrives at time when thousands of leaked documents, including Facebook's internal emails and presentations, showed how the company tried to control competitors and help friends by offering - or withholding - user data.
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