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Facebook responded to 24 percent requests for account info by Bangladesh in July-December

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by April 28, 2017 General

In the second half of last year, the government posted 49 requests for information on 57 Facebook users.

The government was given 24 percent of the information it sought in this period, Facebook said in its latest Government Request Report.

From January to June last year, Facebook authorities provided 20 percent information when the government wanted to know about nine accounts in 10 requests.

Out of the 49 requests between July and December, the government asked for information on 32 accounts in 24 requests. Facebook provided 8.33 percent of the information.

The 25 others were emergency requests and Facebook fulfilled 40 percent of these requests.

The report published on Friday also said Facebook authorities will preserve for 90 days records of 15 accounts being investigated on criminal charges following government request.

The report, like before, has not revealed name or information on any of the accounts.

It also mentioned that Facebook products were affected by an internet blackout as part of a security drill in August.

From early 2013 to June 2015, Bangladesh requested information on 37 users but Facebook had not responded.

It also did not respond to three other requests the government made between January and June 2015 for information concerning three users.

A government count puts the Facebook users in Bangladesh at around 30 million. Worldwide, a fourth of the population, or 1.79 billion, use it as well.

The government blocked Facebook for 22 days since Nov 18 last year in the wake of the murders of two foreign nationals and an attack on a police check post in an effort to cut off communication links among militants and terrorists.

It had also banned microblogging site Twitter and free voice calling and chat applications Skype and Imo on the grounds that militants and hoodlums communicate with each other to dodge police surveillance.

Last November, State Minister for Post and Telecommunications Tarana Halim in a letter to the Facebook authorities had highlighted the misuse of the site at that time.

She also sat with Facebook’s Asia and Pacific region chief in Singapore in January this year.

After returning home, she said the Facebook authorities had assured her of considering the Bangladesh government’s requests and complaints made in the context of cyber security, offensive comments against women and Bangladesh’s religious and societal values.

Earlier in April, the Facebook authorities closed down a number of fake pages and accounts opened using the names of VIPs following the government’s request.

According to Facebook, the number of requests for information it received from governments rose by 9 percent in the second half of last year than the first half.

In January-June period, the governments sought information about 59,229 accounts. The figure rose to 64,279 in July-December.

The US and India have retained top positions with highest numbers of requests.

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