By Daniel Hunter

The number of requests made by governments around the world to Facebook for access to users' data grew by 24% in the first half of the year.

Facebook said 35,000 requests were made in the first six months of the year, up by nearly a quarter on the previous half year.

The social media giant also said that there was a 19% increase in the number of posts restricted by local laws.

Facebook is currently embroiled in an appeal to fight a court order to hand over data for 400 people involved in a benefit fraud trial in the US.

"We're aggressively pursuing an appeal to a higher court to invalidate these sweeping warrants and to force the government to return the data it has seized," Facebook said.

It also follows the calls made by new GCHQ boss Robert Hannigan, who yesterday (Tuesday) said the big US tech firms, like Facebook, need to do more to tackle terrorism and extremism on their platforms.

Facebook has come under huge pressure over the way it uses user data in recent years, prompting big concerns over online privacy.

Earlier this year, Facebook was heavily criticised for research it conducted which saw it manipulate some users newsfeeds to affect their emotions.

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