Twitter releases first-ever transparency report

Steven Loeb · July 2, 2012 · Short URL:

Inspired by Google to show which countries are requesting information and content removal

In June, Google saw fit to shed some light on which countries were requesting that data be removed, and which were requesting that they be given data on specific users. To the surprise of many, it was mostly Western countries, like the United States, Britain and Germany, who were cracking down the hardest, a development that Google called “troubling” and “alarming.”

The point of releasing the information, Google said, was to show people what was really going on and “to contribute to the public debate about how government behaviors are shaping our web.”

Now, it seems, that by doing this, Google may have started something of a trend, as another big Internet name has decided to go ahead and release their information as well.

Twitter released its first ever Transparency Report on Monday, saying that it was inspired by Google to do so.

“One of our goals is to grow Twitter in a way that makes us proud. This ideal informs many of our policies and guides us in making difficult decisions,” Twitter said on its blog.

“These policies help inform people, increase awareness and hold all involved parties––including ourselves––more accountable; the release of our first Transparency Report aims to further these ambitions.”

So which country made the most requests for user information?

You guessed it, the United States, with a whopping 679 requests. The total requests worldwide only totaled 849! In fact, the only other country with more than 11 requests was Japan, with 98.

Of course, the United States was also the country that had the largest percentage of  at least some of what it asked for produced.

Overall, 63% of the information was provided.

In the first six months of 2012, Twitter received 3,378 requests for content to be removed, which totaled more requests from governments around the world than Twitter had in the entirety of 2011.

Twitter only complied with 600 of the over 3,000 requests.

From now on, Twitter will publish this information two times a year. With both Twitter and Google providing transparency, and essentially shaming governments who ask for information by revealing it o the public, perhaps other big names, like Facebook and Yahoo, will also follow suit.

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