Egan said regarding Prism:
I cannot say more strongly that Facebook does not and did never allow direct access to our servers. That’s what the press reports have indicated, but that’s just flatly not true. We also do not respond to bulk requests from law enforcement. We look at every single request that we receive from the government regarding our users’ information, and we respond in a very targeted manner, and only as required by law. We fight back aggressively on this. (Co-Founder and CEO) Mark (Zuckerberg) indicated this in a blog post soon after these press reports came out.
We only respond to requests that are complaint with applicable law, and that includes European data-protection law. As I mentioned, we push back aggressively. There have been many instances where we have not responded. There have been instances where we’ve pushed back on the government and asked them to narrow their requests, or we’ve just provided more limited information. Our core constituency is our users.
Egan also pointed viewers to a blog post by then-Facebook General Counsel Ted Ullyot on Prism, in which he wrote:
For the six months ending Dec. 31, 2012, the total number of user-data requests Facebook received from any and all government entities in the U.S. (including local, state, and federal, and including criminal- and national-security-related requests) was between 9,000 and 10,000. These requests run the gamut from things like a local sheriff trying to find a missing child, to a federal marshal tracking a fugitive, to a police department investigating an assault, to a national security official investigating a terrorist threat. The total number of Facebook user accounts for which data was requested pursuant to the entirety of those 9,000 to 10,000requests was between 18,000 and 19,000 accounts.
In response to a Facebook user’s question about why the social network could not provide more specific numbers, Egan said:
We are not allowed by law to release that information. National security is sensitive, and that’s why we can’t release those specific numbers.
Readers: Are you still concerned about Facebook’s potential involvement in Prism?