Twitter's Transparency Report Reveals Takedown And Information Requests

from the transparency-is-a-good-thing dept

We’ve been impressed with Google’s ongoing transparency report efforts, and it appears that the folks at Twitter agree. The company recently released its own Transparency Report (and gave a hat tip to Google in the process). Like Google’s report, Twitter’s looks at how many requests for information it has received, as well as how many copyright takedown requests. The first chart it showed highlights how nearly all of the government requests for user info it receives comes from the US:

As you can see, the US had 679 requests for info, dwarfing second-place Japan, who had 98 requests. After that, the highest you got was the UK and Canada with 11 requests each. There may be a lot more American Twitter users, but still, that’s quite a spread. Perhaps more interesting is that Twitter appears to have resisted an awful lot of the requests (especially coming from other countries). However, in the US it did end up abiding by 75% of requests. This isn’t a huge surprise, as there have been a few court cases that have shown that Twitter can be compelled to cough up such info here. At the very least, Twitter has been very good about letting its users know that their information is being sought, whenever it can (though there may be cases where it’s legally restricted from doing so).

Next up, Twitter showed how often it gets requests not to provide info, but to flat out remove Tweets (outside of copyright takedowns, apparently):

Here you see that there aren’t really that many requests — and thankfully none from the US. What’s most interesting here, of course, is the fact that Twitter has refused to remove such info each and every time. Considering how many companies just roll over when they receive an official government correspondence or court order, this is really nice to see (and, yes, a bit surprising). As the company notes, it will remove content for “rules violations” (and for copyright infringement, as we’re about to see), but these requests fall into a different category — likely just information that governments didn’t want to exist.

And, finally, they discuss copyright takedowns. This is actually an area where we’ve felt that Twitter doesn’t always do a very good job, as there have been multiple stories of questionable DMCA-based takedowns.

Given our earlier stories, I’ll admit that I’m a bit surprised to see that Twitter seems to actively resist questionable DMCA takedowns — to the point that only 38% of requests resulted in material being removed. The company admits that it gets a ton of bogus complaints and is careful to review them:

We also receive a large number of misfiled, non-copyright complaints through our web form. We carefully review each report received, and follow-up with the reporter as appropriate.

There may be room for improvement here, but it does appear that (unlike many companies), Twitter doesn’t just roll over on every DMCA request.

Either way, it’s great to see these kinds of transparency reports that really reveal some detailed info on just how often companies like Google and Twitter are asked to remove content or reveal info on users.

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Comments on “Twitter's Transparency Report Reveals Takedown And Information Requests”

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DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You can spread subversive tweets with twitter. Or wrong thoughts. Or worst of all, things embarrassing to corporations.

In the US, corporations are people too. While they may live longer than you ever will, and be healthier than your health care may keep you, they can still have their poor corporate feelings hurt.

There needs to be a law to stop this disclosure of takedown and information requests!

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

While you and others carry on about corporations being people under the law in the United States, it’s that way in many other countries as well.

Corporations are persons under civil and criminal law in Canada as well. Note that I said persons not people. While there are obvious drawbacks to this, on the other hand there are plusses.

Things like you can actually file a lawsuit against a corporation or proprietorship where you can’t if they’re not recognized as “persons”. How do you sue an inanimate object?

How do you charge a corporation and it’s directors and/or executives if the corporation itself isn’t a person under law? Enron plops to mind as does a recent leak or spew from an Enridge pipeline in the States. They need to be “persons” under law to charge them criminally, too.

As for having their little feelers hurt, like most of the rest of us, too bad. It’s part of life. Most of the world, that is the world outside of the United States, doesn’t sue other people or persons because they stubbed a toe. 🙂

Sarah Black (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Serial numbers/CD-Keys, passwords, credit card numbers, and other private information that someone thinks should remain private. Sometimes something as minor as pre-release details of products that have not yet been made public information such as what Apple general has been know to do when specs prematurely leak — again, see point #1.

Minimum Wage Shill says:

for twitter to publish this information is a threat to the IP cartels (strike-through) national security. how else is our bought (strikethrough) government supposed to track freetard infringers (strike through) violent terrorists when twitter is on the side of the terrorists and keeps providing them with national security secrets?

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