Skip to main content

Twitter's 2012 transparency report reveals many DMCA takedown requests, few from government

Twitter's 2012 transparency report reveals many DMCA takedown requests, few from government

Share this story

Twitter has just released its second transparency report along with a new transparency website, providing new data for the latter six months of 2012. The full-year perspective shows that Twitter mostly deals with Digital Millenium Copyright Act takedowns; receiving a total of 6,646 copyright takedown requests and just 46 government takedown requests. Governments seemed more interested in user data last year, making 1,858 information requests (by comparison, Google received a total of 21,389 requests from data just in the second half of 2012). There wasn't a huge shift in any category in the second half of the year for Twitter except for government takedown requests, which rose from 6 to 42, but with only two data points, there's not much of a trend to glean from Twitter's reporting just yet.

Twitter has also provided detail about the consequences of takedown requests. In 2012, the company withheld 10,832 tweets, and requests affected 13,079 users — meaning multiple users and tweets were implicated in some requests. (That's not unusual in copyright takedowns: Microsoft, for instance, went after nearly 5.5 million URLs and 35,000 domains with only about 12,900 requests). Of course, that doesn't mean Twitter complies with all of those requests, and the actual impact is much lower than what's asked for by copyright owners — the company removed material from its network for about 45.3% of takedown notices.

In a blog post announcing the report, Twitter writes that it has 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." Its new site is similar to Google's transparency effort, but there's not a ton of information provided; Twitter shows some thumbnail data for the top takedown requesters, but directs users to Chilling Effects for more information on individual takedowns.