Facebook is an online social networking service and one of the most popular websites on the internet, with 955 million active users.


Facebook is regularly embroiled in controversy surrounding privacy and handling of user data.

Violation of European Union Data Protection Law

Facebook is accused by data protection awareness site Europe-v-Facebook of violating European data protection law, specifically Directive 95/46/EC, by refusing to furnish users with all data that the company holds on them. It argues that as Facebook's headquarters outside of mainland US are in Ireland, they are subject to European law, and to this end they provide on their site tools to help users request their complete set of data from Facebook[1].

Real name policy

Facebook's policy is to require that users register under their legal name (as used on government documents). An order to end this policy in Europe was made by the German Data Protection Commissioner in December 2012. However, in February 2013, a German judge ruled that German law was not applicable as personal data was not handled by Facebook in Germany.[2](See also Online anonymity)


From 2013 Facebook began releasing simple figures about the number of requests made for user data.

Government data requests, United Kingdom
Period Total Requests Users/Accounts Requested % of requests where dome data produced
2013 Q1+Q2 1975 2337 68
2013 Q3+Q4 1906 2277 71.30
2014 Q1+Q2 2110 2619 71.68

Source: Facebook[3][4]

Personal privacy and security

While clearly engaged in the process of gathering user data, Facebook has enabled some security and privacy enabling technologies such as HSTS (2014), Tor[5] (2014), and support for PGP encrypted notification emails[6] (2015).



  1. http://europe-v-facebook.org/EN/en.html
  2. http://www.itworld.com/security/342600/facebook-can-stick-its-real-name-policy-now-german-court-rules
  3. Global Government Requests Report
  4. Facebook Government Requests United Kingdom
  5. [1]
  6. [2]