Twitter: 5,676 Government Requests for Account Information in First Half of 2016

Twitter said it received 2 percent more government requests for account information in the first half of 2016 compared with the second half of 2015.

Twitter said it received 2 percent more government requests for account information in the first half of 2016 compared with the second half of 2015, affecting 8 percent more accounts.

The social network released its Transparency Report for the first six months of the year, and other findings included:

  • Requests came from seven new countries: Bermuda, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Jordan, Macedonia, Malta and Mongolia.
  • Since Twitter began issuing its Transparency Report in the first half of 2012, the governments of 76 countries have requested information.
  • Vine and Periscope were included in the Transparency Report for the first time. Twitter received 25 requests for Vine account information in the first six months of the year, disclosing information in 75 percent of them, and 47 requests for Periscope, disclosing information in 45 percent of them.
  • Between January and June, Twitter received 1,283 preservation requests– government requests to preserve account information–affecting 3,311 accounts, from law enforcement requesters around the world.

Twitter received a total of 5,676 government requests for account information from January through June 2016, and the top 10 countries were:

  1. U.S., 2,520
  2. Japan, 732
  3. U.K., 631
  4. France, 572
  5. Turkey, 280
  6. India, 139
  7. Spain, 117
  8. Germany, 111
  9. Saudi Arabia, 99
  10. Belgium, 67

Twitter said in its Transparency Report:

The growth in information requests received is modest compared to previous reports, which generally showed double-digit growth from report to report. Some reasons for the small increase in this reporting period may be due to the decrease in number of requests from the U.S. and Turkey. In past reports, requests for user information from the U.S. grew from report to report. However, in this reporting period, Twitter received 152 fewer requests from the U.S. compared to the second half of 2015. There was also a 34 percent decrease in requests received from Turkey compared to the last report.

Despite the decrease in number of requests from the U.S., the country still remains the top global requester, comprising 44 percent of total requests received. Japan rose to the second spot, submitting 13 percent of total information requests, with the total amount of requests from Japan rising by 64 percent compared to the last reporting period. The U.K., France and Turkey remain in the list of top five requester countries. Also notable was the 67 percent increase in requests from Belgium and a 61 percent increase in requests from Germany. The increase in requests from Belgium was related to the March 2016 terror attacks in Brussels.

Readers: Did any of the information revealed by Twitter surprise you?