African governments have increased user data requests from Facebook, Google, and Twitter

The Collaboration on International ICT Policy for East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) has conducted a research that has revealed increased requests of user data from global tech companies by African Governments.

CIPESA analyzed request information from transparency reports published by some of the world’s largest tech companies. The resulting report found out that social media user information requests from African governments have accelerated between 2013 and 2016.

There’s a “growing trend” in Africa for such requests. South Africa, Nigeria, Sudan, Kenya, and Egypt have all consistently requested user information from Google, Facebook, and Twitter. CIPESA also surveyed reports from Africa-based mobile operators such as MTN and Orange.

Facebook, which has published reports detailing government requests since 2013, said it received requests from 18 African governments last year, compared to only five in the first half of 2013. South Africa, Egypt, and Sudan made the most requests for user information. User requests are typically made for account records in connection to criminal investigations and emergencies. The social media giant has also received a request from Ghana to restrict access to content which it claimed violated its national laws.

Facebook does not always comply with these requests. For example, in the second half of 2016, it only complied with three of South Africa’s six user information requests.

Nigeria requested the most information than any other African government, asking for data on 119 Facebook user accounts.

Since 2013, Google has gotten requests for user information from 10 African countries, with Kenya making the highest number of total requests. Like Facebook, Google also doesn’t comply with all requests. While it complied with 63% of requests made by Kenya in the second half of 2013 in relation to 11 user accounts, it has rejected all of Kenya’s other requests.

For its part, Twitter has received user information requests from five countries—Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and South Sudan—in the last five years. While some of the “emergency requests” from Kenya and Nigeria were complied with, the micro-blogging site rejected content removal requests from South Africa in 2016.

The story was published by QZ