Will Detailed Transparency Reports by Social Platforms Inspire User Trust?

A robust transparency report is no longer a perk; it’s a necessity if your company hopes to gain enough user trust to maintain long term success.

The driving force behind the internet these days is data. The relationship between users, the government, and the businesses that trade in our data is very often strained. Many companies are trying to redress this situation by releasing transparency reports, and Twitter is stepping up its game by providing more detailed data.

Twitter has launched a revamped transparency hub, where users can access detailed data in many categories. Users now have access to government information requests,copyright claims and DMCA notices, removal requests, and trademark policy violation data.

Additionally, Twitter has integrated all data from previous transparency reports into the new hub, so users are able to see changes over time. For example, between 2012 and 2015 DMCA takedown requests for Twitter have increased from 3,378 in the first two quarters to 14,694 during the same period. Twitter also provides data on the companies making the most requests per period, creating a kind of ‘worst offenders’ list.

Government information requests have also increased markedly increase since Twitter’s last report. The company received 52 percent more requests as compared to the previous six months, and these requests affected 78 percent more accounts. On average, Twitter complies with 58 percent of these information requests.

Pinterest also recently released its own transparency report, and their data provides some interesting insight into law enforcement requests. Pinterest’s data notes the number of subpoenas, warrants, and court orders it received during the reporting period, and the origin of those requests – e.g. 44 percent of subpoenas came from grand juries.

Transparency reports are one tool which has the potential to provide checks and balances on the systematic data gathering on the internet. Showing the number of requests is one thing, but declaring how often your company complies with those requests can give users an idea of how likely their data is to be shared with government entities.

Security standards are always improving, and disclosure best practices are changing to reflect users demand for more transparency. The more detailed a report, the more useful it is for users regardless of how security conscious they might be. A robust transparency report is no longer a perk; it’s a necessity if your company hopes to gain enough user trust to maintain long term success.

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