US and Turkish governments flood Twitter with data requests

News by Doug Drinkwater

Social networking giant Twitter has seen a 40 percent rise in the number of data requests from governments worldwide, compared to just six months ago.

In its latest transparency report, the firm revealed that it received 2,871 requests from governments across the world, which asked the micro-blogging site to reveal data on 7,144 of its users in the second half of 2014.

Most of these requests came from the US government, which submitted 1,622 requests of which Twitter complied with 80 percent. The Turkish government – which blocked Twitter in the country last March– made 356 requests, although Twitter did not agree to any of these.

Russia made 108 requests for account information since July, having previously not requested any information. The Kremlin also made 91 requests for removal of content, which related largely to the promotion of illegal drugs and attempts to suppress non-violet demonstrations.

"We denied several requests to silence popular critics of the Russian government and other demands to limit speech about non-violent demonstration in Ukraine," said Twitter senior manager of legal policy Jeremy Kessel, in a blog post.

Overall, the company saw an 84 percent increase in government demands to remove content from Twitter. The top three countries were Turkey, Russia and Germany. On average, Twitter complied with 52 percent of requests.

"Providing this insight is simply the right thing to do, especially in an age of increasing concerns about government surveillance," added Kessel.

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