Twitter Transparency Report

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Wednesday marks Independence Day here in the United States. Beyond the fireworks and barbecue, July 4th serves as an important reminder of the need to hold governments accountable, especially on behalf of those who may not have a chance to do so themselves.

With that in mind, today we’re unveiling our first Twitter Transparency Report. Inspired by the great work done by our peers @Google, the primary goal of this report is to shed more light on:

  • government requests received for user information,
  • government requests received to withhold content, and
  • DMCA takedown notices received from copyright holders.

The report also provides insight into whether or not we take action on these requests.

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. One example is our long-standing policy to proactively notify users of requests for their account information unless we’re prohibited by law; another example is transmitting DMCA takedown notices and requests to withhold content to Chilling Effects. 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.

Here’s the data, which dates back to January 1, 2012. You can also find these tables, along with more information about the data, in our Help Center. [Note: as of January 28, 2013, you can find this information and data on our Transparency Report site.]

We’ve received more government requests in the first half of 2012, as outlined in this initial dataset, than in the entirety of 2011. Moving forward, we’ll be publishing an updated version of this information twice a year.

Along with publishing our Transparency Report, we’re also partnering with Herdict, which “collects and disseminates real-time, crowdsourced information about Internet filtering, denial of service attacks, and other blockages.” This new partnership aims to drive more traffic and exposure to Herdict, while also empowering the web community at large to help keep an eye on whether users can access Twitter around the world.

These two new initiatives—the Twitter Transparency Report and our partnership with Herdict—are an important part of keeping the Tweets flowing.

Posted by Jeremy Kessel, Manager, Legal Policy (@jer)