Irish authorities made 34 requests for data from Facebook in the first six months of the year, according to figures published by the social media company.

The requests sought information on 40 different users' accounts, with the website handing over some data in 71% of cases.

The figures for data requests from Irish officials are contained within Facebook’s first Global Government Requests Report, which outlines the number of data requests made by different countries.

The report does not detail the reasons given for the requests, however, or what kind of information was being sought in each instance.

Facebook and other technology companies have been criticised for helping the US's National Security Agency secretly collect data on customers, which it strenuously denies.

However, the US does account for around half of all requests made in the first six months of the year, with 79% of requests by authorities there proving successful.

Meanwhile almost 2,000 requests were made by British authorities, 68% of which were successful.

In total, authorities from 74 countries made 26,000 data requests in relation to 38,000 users in the first half of the year, with data being handed over in 33% of those cases.