Social media is a medium that is being heavily monitored by all kinds of agencies and government offices. Indian government has been a keen supporter in controlling the voices on social media along with other international governments. So the buck stops at the social networks to come out in the open and show how much do they care for an open and safe internet.
Twitter came out with their first biannual Twitter Transparency Report on July 2, 2012. According to their latest blog post Twitter has published the second report for Q3-Q4,2012 and additionally has introduced a new home for the transparency report – transparency.twitter.com.
The Twitter Transparency Report (#TTR) details six months of data detailing the volume of government requests that they receive for user information, government requests to withhold content and Digital Millennium Copyright Act related complaints from copyright holders. The second report takes care of all this and also adds some more granular details regarding information requests from United States, expansion in the scope of the removal requests and copyright notice sections.
The Twitter Transparency Report Q3-Q4, 2012 India Stats
The Q1-Q2, 2012 report had requests from India but then numbers were less than 10, so Twitter according to their policy, had to let go the requests. However according to the Q3-Q4, 2012 report Twitter received requests from the Indian government to remove accounts related to 16 users. The report further adds that there were removal requests each from the court as well as from the Indian government agency. But Twitter had not withheld any account or any tweet during the Q3-Q4, 2012.
In addition there were user information requests but they were less than 10, so it had no action by Twitter. But then in later part of 2012, we witnessed cases when Twitter accounts were blocked by the government during the N-E Tensions. The blocks were created in association with the ISP players in India. However, these moves were not fruitful and later the government did understand that blocking profiles or accounts won’t be a permanent solution since creating a new one doesn’t take much effort!
While sharing the worldwide stats, Twitter stated that the network received 42 requests for removal requests of tweets/users compared to 6 such requests in the Q1-Q2, 2012 report. Along with this the latest report also received 1009 information requests compared to 849 requests of the last report. The copyright notices however saw a decrease and from 3378 it is now 3268. The report also highlighted the countries with the highest number of censor requests such as France (40 accounts) that topped the list followed by UK (25 accounts) and Brazil (22 accounts). US featured as the top country in requesting user information of 815 users in the Q3-Q4 period.
Social media is the medium that has challenged all governments. Hence, this upward curve in requests made from them. Though Twitter says it clearly that these government inquires will continue to climb into the foreseeable future. But it would be interesting to see how long can Twitter stand by the oath of – Safe and Free Internet.
At a time when governments are building mechanisms that can scan and control internet at a country or local level, it would be interesting to see how the people behave to such changes in the future. But it is good to see Twitter making it a practice to come out in the clear, guess it’s time for Facebook to follow the code!