Government Requests for Twitter User Data Up 40 Percent

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Government Requests for Twitter User Data Up 40 Percent

New transparency figures from social media site show leap in account information requests

Twitter received a 40 percent increase in government requests for user information, according to the company's newest transparency report. (Photo: Scott Beale/flickr/cc)

Government requests for Twitter users' personal information in the second half of 2014 jumped by 40 percent compared to the first half, the social media site's most recent transparency report has revealed.

Between the months of July and December, Twitter received 2,871 requests total, according to the report, released Monday.

Turkey, Russia, and the U.S. led the pack, demanding information significantly more than any other government. In the second half of 2014, Turkey made 356 requests for user data, up from 24 between January and July. Russia made 108, up from zero in the first six months of the year.

The U.S., meanwhile, made 1,622 request for user data during that same time period—up from 1,257.

Twitter gave some information in about 80 percent of the U.S. cases, although the company did not comply with any requests from Turkey or Russia.

The company also "received an 84 percent increase in global government and government-sanctioned demands to remove content from Twitter," with the bulk of those requests coming from Turkey, Russia, and Germany.

"Providing this level of transparency is not without its complications and sometimes means we get tough questions and criticism about our decisions," Jeremy Kessel, Twitter’s senior manager for global legal policy, wrote in a blog post Monday. "However, this candid feedback helps us to be evermore thoughtful about our policies and decisions regarding content and compliance as we navigate complex, diverse legal regimes around the world."


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