Skip to main content

Twitter's Transparency Report Reveals Nosy Uncle Sam

Admittedly inspired by Google, Twitter released on Monday its very first transparency report -- just two days before July 4th.

According to Twitter, the primary goal of the report is to shed more light on government requests received for user information, government requests received to withhold content, and DMCA takedown notices received from copyright holders. The report also provides insight into whether or not Twitter actually takes action on these requests.

"One of our goals is to grow Twitter in a way that makes us proud," the company said. "This ideal informs many of our policies and guides us in making difficult decisions. These policies help inform people, increase awareness and hold all involved parties -- including ourselves -- more accountable."

Twitter points out that it has received more government requests in the first half of 2012 than in the entirety of 2011. The United States shows to be the most nosy across the globe, flooding Twitter with 679 requests regarding 948 user accounts since January 2012. Twitter said it only complied with 75-percent of those requests.

The second highest number of requests actually stemmed from Japan. Twitter received a mere 98 requests regarding 147 user accounts, although Twitter only complied with 20-percent of those requests. Canada is next in line with 11 requests regarding 12 user accounts, 18-percent of which Twitter complied.

In the first six months of 2012, Twitter received 3378 copyright takedown notices. 5275 tweets related to illegal content was removed in that timeframe, affecting 5874 user accounts. Twitter only complied with 38-percent of the takedown notices, removing 599 pieces of media that was actually posted on the social website.

Along with publishing the Transparency Report, Twitter is also partnering with Herdict, which collects and disseminates real-time, crowd-sourced information about Internet filtering, denial of service attacks, and other blockages. Twitter said this new partnership aims to drive more traffic and exposure to Herdict, while also empowering the web community at large to help keep an eye on whether users can access Twitter around the world.

"Beyond the fireworks and barbecue, July 4th serves as an important reminder of the need to hold governments accountable, especially on behalf of those who may not have a chance to do so themselves," Twitter said.

To see the full set of transparency charts, head here.