eDiscovery Daily Blog

eDiscovery Trends: How Many Requests for User Information is Twitter Receiving? It’s Transparent.


As illustrated in the example we posted Tuesday, Twitter continues to receive requests from government agencies for user information (often related to litigation).  How many are they receiving?  Now, you can find out, simply by clicking on their new Transparency Report page to see the number of requests they have received.

Starting for the first six months of this year, Twitter’s report will be issued every six months and provides information in three areas:

  • Government requests received for user information;
  • Government requests received to withhold content; and
  • DMCA takedown notices received from copyright holders.

Twitter provides a table for each category.  For the government requests categories (first two sections), it shows requests by country.  In the User Information Requests table, it’s notable that, out of 849 total user information requests for the first half of 2012, 679 were requested by US government entities (we’re so litigious!).  They also provide stats for percentage of the requests where some or all information was produced and a count of users/accounts specified.  Here are some observations:

  • There were 849 total user information requests for the first half of 2012, 679 coming from US government entities.  The only other countries that had more than 10 requests were: Japan (98), Canada (11) and the United Kingdom (11).
  • Information was produced in 63% of those requests, 75% of the time for US requests.  Interestingly enough, only 20% of Japan’s 98 requests resulted in information produced.
  • The 849 total user information requests for the first half of 2012 specified 1,181 user accounts in those requests, with the 679 US requests specifying 948 user accounts.

Twitter notes that their report is inspired by Google’s own Transparency Report (click here to see their Transparency Report page and here to see user data requests they receive from government agencies and courts for a selected six-month period, starting with July through December 2009).  Early versions of the report don’t show the percentages of user data requests they comply with or the number of users or accounts about which data was requested.  But, it’s interesting to note that since Google began tracking requests, they have risen from greater than 12,539 in July through December 2009 to greater than 18,257 in July through December 2011, a 46% rise in two years.  It will be interesting to see if the number of Twitter requests rises in a similar fashion.  I’m betting yes.

Of course, there’s a protocol to follow if you’re a government entity or law enforcement organization requesting private information from Twitter as we detailed back in April.

So, what do you think?  Is this useful information?  Would you have expected more or less information requests to Twitter?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.