Company

Increased Transparency on Country Withheld Content

By Jeremy Kessel
Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Twitter was founded on a commitment to transparency. We launched our first Twitter Transparency Report to shine light on government requests back in the summer of 2012. Later that year, we announced our Country Withheld Content (CWC) tool, which we use to transparently handle global legal requests to remove content from Twitter. The primary goal of CWC is to avoid silent removals and maximize transparency of the content that we are compelled to remove to comply with local laws, court orders, and other legal demands.

We achieve this transparency through a combination of efforts. This includes providing direct notice of removal requests to affected users (when not otherwise prohibited), the use of visual indicators within the service, and by publishing the underlying legal demands (e.g., court orders) on Lumen, which serves as a public repository for content removal requests. Lumen, along with our Transparency Report, helps the public better understand the scope and scale of government censorship from around the world.

As our use of CWC has evolved over time, we are updating our in-product messaging when we withhold content to clarify why content was withheld and where. Users will now see one of the following two interstitials displayed on withheld content:

Withheld Tweets:

 

This Tweet is unavailable
This Tweet is unavailable.

If you see the above message, it means Twitter was compelled to withhold the original Tweet in response to a valid legal demand, such as a court order.

 

This Tweet is unavailable
This Tweet is unavailable.

If you see the above message, it means Twitter withheld content based on local law(s) in response to a report filed through specific support intake channels.

Withheld accounts:

 

This Tweet is unavailable
This Tweet is unavailable.

If you see the above message, it means Twitter was compelled to withhold the entire account specified (e.g., @username) in response to a valid legal demand, such as a court order.

 

This Tweet is unavailable
This Tweet is unavailable.

If you see the above message, it means Twitter withheld the entire account based on local law(s) in response to a report filed through specific support intake channels.

We have updated the CWC Help Center article as well as our Legal Request FAQ to reflect these changes. This update is part of our larger efforts to increase transparency across Twitter, particularly around decisions that impact our users. We are also working on improving our use of in-app notifications to alert affected users when we have received legal requests about their account.

Our goal is to help you better understand why you may not be able to view certain types of content as you interact with our service. The more that we can share about our actions, the better the public can understand the various challenges, legal or otherwise, that we face and how we handle them. We are pleased to be able to share this step, but there is more to be done.  We will continue to enhance transparency across the service and our biannual reports.

 

This Tweet is unavailable
This Tweet is unavailable.
@jer

Jeremy Kessel

‎@jer‎

Global Legal Policy Director, Twitter