Andrew Birmingham

U.S. Government: Biggest Facebook Creepers in the World

When it comes to prying into Facebook accounts, Western governments are the world’s biggest creepers because … freedom.


That’s what the data from the Facebook Government Request Report tells us. Eight of the eleven worst governments for human rights violations don’t actually allow access to Zuckerberg’s Curse, but the three who do have little interest in what their citizens are doing in there.

By contrast, the agencies of the U.S. government overwhelmingly are the biggest digital voyeurs.

Data released by Facebook this month confirms that—as ever—the U.S. makes more requests than any other government. The Indian government is second, although in fairness they do have four times as large a population. As a percentage of population, India’s public servants are among the least interested in its citizens’ food selfies and dancing kitten videos.

The Australian government comes in as the 9th worst social media peeper. According to the Social Network, Australian government agencies made 693 requests across 744 accounts.

Access was granted in almost 65 percent of cases.

Coincidentally, Australian police were criticized recently for illegally hacking the account of someone they were convinced was making fun of them. He was. Hilariously. And none of the charges against him held up in court, although the police were heavily criticized by the presiding judge for their criminal misconduct.




Those Politbureau paragons of democratic virtue in China, by comparison, made no requests for access. (Maybe they are out of practice. Facebook is currently unblocked, but that is a day-to-day proposition.)

Likewise, the Iraqi government made one request—and yes, it was granted.

In Myanmar, the government was far too busy repressing real human rights to waste much time on digital ones. The government there made no requests for access to accounts, although five pieces of content were restricted based on local laws.

The Pakistani government made 192 requests for access to accounts of which 58 percent were granted.

The Sudanese government made two requests—neither of which was granted.

According to Facebook, its Government Requests Report provides country-level information about content restrictions in places where our services are otherwise available. “We have included instances in which we have removed content that governments have identified as illegal, as well as instances that may have been brought to our attention by non-government entities, such as NGOs, charities, and members of the Facebook community.”

Originally published on and republished with permission.



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