Legal requests to sites with user-generated content are booming, and those sites are in turn attempting to keep their members and the public informed about the requests. To facilitate its public disclosure, this week Twitter set up a new home, with new details, for its semi-annual transparency report.
Twitter’s new location for its transparency report, can be found at transparency.twitter.com and is displaying six months worth of data about the volume of governmental requests for user information or to withhold content, as well as complaints from copyright holders.
Info Requests Up
The company’s latest report, covering the period since July, shows the requests the company has received from government and rights holders. There have been 1,009 information requests in that period, up from 849 in the first two quarters of last year.
Twitter said those requests were usually for user account information, primarily in connection with criminal investigations or cases, and the company included a table with a breakdown of which countries made the request. As expected, the vast majority are from the U.S.
Total requests to Twitter over its first two transparency reports.
There are also other breakdowns for these information requests, such as kinds of requests, with 60 percent representing subpoenas and the rest being court orders, warrants or others.
This report also notes there have been 42 removal requests, up from only 6 in the last report. Such requests usually involve a court order requiring the removal of defamatory statements or unspecified “prohibitive content.” Interestingly but without more detail, Brazil led in removal requests for this report with 16, versus a relatively paltry two requests from the U.S.
There were also a whopping 3268 copyright infringement notices, nearly the same as the 3378 in the first six months of 2012. The company provided details on those numbers, including copyright takedown notices by month, users/accounts affected or tweets withheld.
On its company blog, the vendor of 140-character-or-less expressions said that “it is vital for us (and other Internet services) to be transparent about government requests for user information and government requests to withhold content from the Internet.” It added that such inquiries, which are growing in number, “can have a serious chilling effect on free expression — and real privacy implications.”