Sep 23, 2016

    Turkey, Russia lead rise in official requests to nix tweets


    TWITTER saw a jump in official requests to remove posts in the first half of this year, the company said on Wednesday.

    Removal requests were up 13 per cent, with the largest volumes coming from Turkey and Russia, which have historically led the pack asking Twitter to get rid of content, according to a transparency report released by the United States-based social media firm.

    The requests typically concerned content deemed illegal by local law, Twitter said.

    Its report did not detail whether efforts to prevent extremists from using the platform to spread violent messages were a factor in the requests.

    Overall, Twitter received 4,434 requests for content removal from governments or police agencies during the first half of this year. There were an additional 761 court orders, according to the report.

    The requests targeted a total of 20,594 accounts, with no action taken on 15,195 of them, Twitter said.

    Officials in Turkey made 2,493 of the requests while 1,601 came from Russia, it added.

    Requests came from 37 countries, with the US making 98 requests, of which one was granted, the report said.

    However, the US led when it came to government requests for information about Twitter accounts.

    It made 2,520 account information requests, getting at least some of what it asked for in 82 per cent of cases.

    "As Twitter is based in San Francisco, California, the majority of global government requests for account information we receive continue to come from the United States," the report noted.

    The "top requesters" in the US were the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service and the New York County District Attorney's Office.

    Japan was second when it came to asking for information, accounting for 732 of the overall 5,676 requests.

    Britain, France and Turkey rounded out a list of the top five countries requesting Twitter information.

    Twitter noted a spurt in requests from Belgium, saying the rise was related to extremist attacks there early this year.