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February 7, 2014

United States Leads In Information Requests From Twitter

Transparency Report Shows 1,410 Requests Made By Governments Across Globe In 2013

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Photo Credit: andercismo

Twitter handled 1,410 requests for information on accounts from governments across the globe throughout the last six months of 2013.

Released Thursday, Twitter’s transparency report for last year sheds light on information requests, removal requests and copyright notices received throughout the year’s final half.

The release of the information follows Twitter’s biannual transparency report first launched on July 2, 2012. It highlights requests the company receives and gives insight in to whether Twitter follows through with the request or denies them.


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For example, government agencies in the United States made 833 requests for account information between July 1 and Dec. 31 of last year. In those requests, there were 1,323 accounts specified but Twitter provided information on 69 percent of those requests.

The numbers are high and have, Twitter stated in the release, increased by 22 percent when it comes to overall requests across the globe.

“The rise may be attributed to Twitter’s international expansion. As always, we continue to fight to provide notice to affected users when we’re not otherwise prohibited,” stated the document.

Other figures have increased, too. Twitter reported the requests for content removal jumped five times when compared to numbers in the previous reporting period. It’s not uncommon for governments to ask content that may be “illegal in theirs respective jurisdictions” to be taken down.

“For example, we may receive a court order requiring the removal of defamatory statements, or law enforcement may ask us to remove prohibited content,” the report reads.

The majority of such requests during the reporting period of July 1 to Dec. 31 came from France, Russia, Brazil and the United Kingdom.


The largest number in the report nearly reached the 7,000 mark with 6,680 copyright take-down notices. In such instances Twitter has been contacted under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act regarding alleged copyright infringement. The number represents an increase of 16 percent since the last report.

In 62 percent of those cases the material was removed.

“It is vital for us to be transparent about requests we receive from governments (including, and especially, our own government here in the U.S.) and other rights holders,” manager of legal policy Jeremy Kessel said in a blog post.

Kessel pointed to other companies such as Yahoo and Google — who also recently issued similar reports — noting Internet leaders are joining forces “to insist that the United States government allow for increased transparency into these secret orders. We believe it’s important to be able to publish numbers of national security requests — including FISA disclosures — separately from non-secret requests. Unfortunately, we are still not able to include such metrics.”


W. Brice McVicar is a staff writer for SiteProNews.