In Twitter’s First Transparency Report – Surprise! – U.S. Made Most User Info Requests
Following Google’s habit to provide semi-annual transparency reports about government requests for user information and DMCA takedown requests, Twitter has released its first Transparency Report today that shows the statistics of all of the requests the micro-blogging company receives from copyright holders and governments, as well as whether or not Twitter complied with the requests.
Just as Twitter is following Google’s lead in providing these transparency reports, another similar trend appearing in the two companies’ reports is that the United States government leads the way in number of requests submitted, filing nearly 80% of all requests that Twitter received. Twitter does one better than Google – for now, at least – in that it fulfilled fewer of those government requests than Google. Still, given that Google fulfilled 93% of user data requests from the U.S. government, it’d be difficult for Twitter to do worse. In the first six months of 2012, Twitter fulfilled nearly 75% of requests from the U.S., which is still frighteningly high amount of compliance.
Twitter does make a note to point out that it received more government requests in the first half of 2012 than it received throughout the entire year of 2011.
Regardless Twitter’s compliance with every 3 out of 4 government requests, the fact that another major social media company is submitting these reports helps create accountability among all companies because it becomes easier to see which of them are selling out users and which of them actually care enough to protect its users. More, hopefully Twitter adding itself to the list of companies that provide transparency reports will add pressure to those that currently do not, like Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook.
Anyways. Below are the statistics for court-ordered removal requests.
Finally, here is the breakdown of DMCA takedown requests Twitter received for the first six months of 2012 along with the site’s percentage of compliance for each month.
Twitter has already been providing details via Chilling Effects about DMCA requests the site receives to remove content on the grounds of copyright violations, but the new data from the Transparency Report helps create a clearer picture of how Twitter handles these requests.
In addition to publishing its inaugural Transparency Report, Twitter also announced that it will be working with Herdict to keep tabs on internet filtering, denial of service attacks and other blockages throughout the world. The partnership will allow Twitter users to report to Herdict any instances of Twitter users being denied access to the site from anywhere around the world.
In a recent analysis conducted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that took a look at which companies were more likely to defend users against government requests for user information. Twitter claimed the second-highest score when it came to protecting user information, losing only half a star out of a possible four because it does not publish a transparency report. Given that Twitter has remedied that one short-coming, I presume that Twitter would now earn that missing half star and complete a perfect score. The only other company to score four full stars, Sonic.net, is an internet service provider, thus making Twitter perhaps the most pro-user privacy social media platform in the world.