Facebook, Microsoft, and Google have lobbied the Obama administration to loosen their gag orders on national security orders. Facebook says it received more than 9,000 requests for user data from local and federal officials in the last six months of 2012.
Facebook and Microsoft Corp. representatives said that after negotiations with national security officials their companies have been given permission to make new but still very limited revelations about government orders to turn over user data.
The announcements Friday night come at the end of a week when Facebook, Microsoft and Google, normally rivals, had jointly pressured the Obama administration to loosen their legal gag on national security orders.
Those actions came after Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old American who works as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, revealed to The Guardian newspaper the existence of secret surveillance programs that gathered Americans' phone records and other data. The companies did not link their actions to Snowden's leaks.