Meta Had Over 400k Law Enforcement Data Requests in 2022
In 2022, Meta — the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp — faced a staggering number of data requests from governments worldwide. According to Meta’s transparency report, these requests amounted to more than 400,000 in total and sought information on over 800,000 users. The disclosure rate by Meta was equally concerning, as they revealed at least some information in 76% of the cases.
A comparative analysis conducted by AtlasVPN revealed a dramatic surge of 971% in government requests to Meta since 2013. The number of requests escalated from 53,754 relating to 77,274 accounts in 2013 to a total of 476,802 requests for data on more than 827,927 accounts. The implications for Meta users are significant, as an increasing number of requests and a high compliance rate raise alarms about the privacy and security of their personal data.
AtlasVPN suggested that this trend could indicate both a growing proficiency of law enforcement and government organizations in utilizing online data and a potential lack of scrutiny regarding these requests. They pointed out an incident from last year where both Apple and Meta inadvertently handed over sensitive data to hackers who forged emergency legal requests, indicating a vulnerability in the current system.
Although data requests in 2022 originated from 130 countries, the United States government led the way with the highest number of requests. They requested data on 236,000 users, a 10% increase from the previous year, with Meta complying and disclosing information in over 88% of cases.
Germany also stood out with a shocking rate of 62.11 individual user data requests per 100,000 people, ranking second in requests per capita. Israel ranked third for the overall volume of account requests, with 60.50 accounts requested per 100,000 people. Other countries issuing a significant number of requests included the UK, France, Belgium, Poland, Brazil, Singapore, and Taiwan.
To safeguard your privacy, it’s recommended that users limit the amount of sensitive personal information shared on social media and other online services. AtlasVPN also advised disabling location services on unnecessary apps and opting out of personalized ads. Lastly, using a trustworthy VPN is always a good way to enhance privacy during regular browsing.