Twitter, now at 200 million monthly active users, is ramping up to be a big player in content delivery with embedded video services from Vine the latest move in that direction. But to play nice with rights holders and authorities, it is also making sure that it’s keeping all activity clean. To that end, today the company launched a new, dedicated site, transparency.twitter.com, where it will house all updated stats and other information linked to information requests from government officials, copyright flags from content companies, and full-blown takedown requests.
In honor of this, Twitter today also released updated figures for what government and rights holders have been requesting of the social network. Since January 2012 it has had 6,646 takedown requests; 1,858 government information requests but only 46 takedown requests.
In a blog post announcing the site, Twitter says that it has chosen today to unveil the site in honor of Data Privacy Day. “We’ve been thinking about ways in which we can more effectively share this information, with an aim to make it more meaningful and accessible to the community at large,” writes Jeremy Kessel, legal manager at Twitter. This is a little ironic in that in fact this is about making clear where data is getting used in the most transparent and public way — the opposite of using data privately.
Twitter says that it’s going to start introducing more data: “more granular details regarding information requests from the United States, expanding the scope of the removal requests and copyright notices sections, and adding Twitter site accessibility data from our partners at Herdict.” Herict was initially announced as a data gathering partner for Twitter’s transparency service when the company released its first report in July 2012.
The details published today show that, in keeping with the growth of the site, the number of requests around the data published on Twitter has grown as well. Q3 and Q4 2012 saw 160 more information requests than Q1 and Q2 — respectively, 1,009 versus 849. Here, Twitter counts any government request made in connection with a criminal investigation, anywhere in the world — although it also notes that as of now it is introducing more detailed information when the request is coming from within the U.S. Interestingly, the U.S. gets the highest number of requests granted, with most the result of the request being 0%.
Removal requests, meanwhile, continue to be a small part of activity, although they have ramped up seven-fold in the second half of the year, going from 6 requests in Q1 and Q2 to 42 in Q3 and Q4.
Last but not least, copyright notices were the most common requests of all, by a long shot, but they actually decreased slightly in the last two quarters compared to the first two, at 3,268 requests in Q3/Q4 compared to 3,378 in Q1/Q2.
Twitter notes that these are “alleged” infringements, reported by rights holders and others, and Twitter notes that 53% of requests in the last six months were successful — with the content being removed. Those whose tweets or content are affected by this and so they also have a right to respond — although for now not many are exercising that option. There were only 5 restore requests in the last six months, all of which were successful.