Government demands for private Facebook data have soared by 24% in six months, the social network has revealed.

There were 34,946 requests worldwide for Facebook data in the first six months of 2014, according to the site’s annual report, a rise on the six months before that.

Facebook says it only complies with government requests for data if they are within the law of the originating country and also within Facebook’s terms and conditions.

In a blog post, Facebook said that where possible, it challenges court orders which is believes are excessively broad.

The company challenged a bulk search warrant issued by a court in New York earlier this year which ordered the site to turn over data from the accounts of nearly 400 people.

Facebook said the request was “by far the largest we’ve ever received” and violated the privacy rights of users.

Despite losing its challenge, it says it is “aggressively pursuing” an appeal to a higher court to invalidate the warrants.

Facebook said that during the same six-month period, the amount of content restricted by governments because of local laws increased by about 19%.

The post said: “While we recognise that governments need to take action to protect their citizens’ safety and security, we believe all government data requests must be narrowly tailored, proportionate to the case in review, and subject to strict judicial oversight.”

source: skynews