Trust in the information we consume every day is critical to how we engage online. Trust in information found online can be established and enhanced when companies, civil society and regulators are transparent about the data and processes they rely on. This, alongside thoughtful policies developed by governments around the world, can help elevate many of the core principles of the Open Internet. For our part, since 2012 we have consistently published bi-annual updates, detailing our enforcement actions housed in the Twitter Transparency Center.
Coupled with this, we have been explicit in our advocacy for an Open Internet that is global, available to all, built on open standards and rooted in the protection of human rights. As we’ve said, protecting the Open Internet — which continues to be under threat — requires meaningful transparency, which is essential to holding companies and governments to account. This work is core to who we are as a company – connecting back to the very first Twitter Transparency Report in 2012, one of the first such reports in the industry.
We’re facing unprecedented challenges as governments around the world increasingly attempt to intervene and remove content. This threat to privacy and freedom of expression is a deeply worrying trend that requires our full attention. Today’s update to the Twitter Transparency Center highlights our long-standing commitment to meaningful transparency and the pressing, urgent need to defend the free, secure, and global Open Internet.
Today, we continue to build on our commitment to sharing meaningful insights about the work we do through the publication of the latest update to our Twitter Transparency Center, including relevant data from January 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021.
Information and removal requests
As important regulatory discussions take place across the globe, we believe it is crucial for citizens to be aware of the requests made by their governments. Throughout this reporting period, Twitter continued to receive requests from governments for account information and account preservations.
Government preservation requests (requests to preserve account information) decreased by 4% from our most recent publication, with the United States accounting for 57% of all global preservation requests.
In a change from our last reporting period, the United States became the single largest source of government information requests with 3,026 requests, accounting for 24% of the global volume we received during this period. These requests accounted for 27% of all accounts specified from around the world and Twitter complied, in whole or in part, with 68% of these U.S. information requests.
Twitter partially disclosed or did not disclose information in response to 64% of global government information requests, a decrease of 9% during this reporting period, under our guidelines for requesting information.
As of this reporting period, Twitter has now received non-government information requests from 35 different countries since 2014, including Argentina, Israel, and Switzerland, which appeared in this report for the first time. These requests come from third parties seeking account information from Twitter, for example, as non-parties in a civil action, or on behalf of defendants in criminal cases.
Japan, Brazil, and the United States were the top three requesting countries when it comes to non-government requests, with all three accounting for 89% of all requests and 87% of the total accounts specified for this period.
In terms of legal demands from governments, in the six month period covered in this report, Twitter received 43,387 legal demands to remove content, specifying 196,878 accounts. This is the largest number of accounts ever subject to removal requests in a reporting period since releasing our first transparency report in 2012.
Of the total global volume of legal demands, 95% originated from only five countries (in decreasing order): Japan, Russia, Turkey, India, and South Korea. We withheld or required account holders to remove some or all of the reported content in response to 54% of these global legal demands.
Enforcement of the Twitter Rules
As the Open Internet continues to be under threat around the world, we will continue our advocacy and build on our work to increase meaningful transparency and accountability in the industry — with the Twitter Transparency Center as our single source of truth in this space.