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Twitter Releases Transparency Report, Holds Itself And Governments Accountable

Good News Everyone!

Taking a hint from Google’s ongoing transparency efforts, Twitter has released it’s first full transparency report detailing government requests received for user information, government requests received to withhold content, and DMCA takedown notices received from copyright holders.

According to Twitter, the company has received more government requests in the first half of 2012 than in all of 2011. The majority of these requests come from the United States, which asked for information on 948 users. Twitter produced information for 75% of those requests.

An interesting aspect of Twitter’s report is the number of takedown requests it receives:

Although Twitter will remove content for copyright infringement and rules violations, they have not honored a single removal request thus far, perhaps suggesting that the tweets tagged is simply information that the government didn’t want public. Their stance on this subject thus far seems very much in line with their reported goals for this transparency effort: “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.”

As TechDirt points out, while there is a widespread belief that Twitter often suspends accounts and removes tweets based upon highly questionable DMCA claims, it turns out that is not the case, so far this year they’ve removed only 38% of content flagged with a copyright takedown notice:

Twitter and Google’s accountability projects are taking place in a very interesting time — considering that we’re right in the thick of the aftermath of Wikileaks, a globalized and easily accessible internet, and a world in which copyright law is a hot button issue, what is the relationship between government and the internet? What role does social media play in mediating between governmental agencies and the individual user and citizen? With its transparency report, which will be updated in real time using Herdict, which “collects and disseminates real-time, crowdsourced information about Internet filtering, denial of service attacks, and other blockages,” Twitter will hopefully fulfill its noble, and necessary, mission of protecting the rights of users and holding governments accountable, “especially on behalf of those who may not have a chance to do so themselves.”

(via Times of IndiaTechDirt, Twitter.)

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