United States

Information Requests

ReportTotal information requestsNon-emergency requestsEmergency requestsPercentage where some information producedAccounts specified
2013: Jul 1 - Dec 31 833 733 100 69% 1,323
2013: Jan 1 - Jun 30 902 - - 67% 1,319
2012: Jul 1 - Dec 31 815 - - 69% 1,145
2012: Jan 1 - Jun 30 679 - - 75% 948
TOTAL 3,229 - - 70% 4,735
NOTE: The data in these reports is as accurate as possible, but may not be 100% comprehensive.

About the numbers

This data includes the number of government requests received for account information, as well as the percentage of requests we complied with in whole or in part from the United States. For the first time, we’ve also included a breakdown between non-emergency and emergency information requests we’ve received.

As Twitter, Inc. is based in San Francisco, California, the majority of global government requests for account information we receive come from the United State. From July 1 - December 31, 2013, 59% of all worldwide requests for account information received originated from the U.S.

For more details about global information requests, please refer to the latest report.

Types of legal process

ReportSubpoenasCourt ordersSearch warrantsOthers
2013: Jul 1 - Dec 31 55% 7% 26% 12%
2013: Jan 1 - Jun 30 56% 11% 23% 10%
2012: Jul 1 - Dec 31 60% 11% 19% 10%
2012: Jan 1 - Jun 30 - - - -
NOTE: The data in these reports is as accurate as possible, but may not be 100% comprehensive.

About the numbers

Most U.S. information requests come in one of three forms of legal process:

Subpoenas

  • Subpoenas are the most common form of legal process issued under the Stored Communications Act; they do not generally require a judge’s sign-off and usually seek basic subscriber information, such as the email address associated with an account and IP logs.

Court orders

  • Unlike subpoenas, court orders must be issued by an appropriate court and signed by a judge.

Search warrants

  • As prescribed by the Fourth Amendment, warrants typically require the most judicial scrutiny before they are issued, including a showing of probable cause and a judge’s signature. A properly executed warrant is required for the disclosure of the contents of communications (e.g., Tweets, DMs). 

Other

  • Requests from law enforcement that do not fall in any of the above categories. Examples include exigent emergency disclosure requests (which we now breakout in the table above) and other requests received for account information without valid legal process.

Certain types of court orders

Mutual legal assistance treaty requests

Mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) requests may authorize district courts within the United States to order Twitter to produce information for use in a proceeding in a foreign or international tribunal, including criminal investigations.

  • 2013: Jul 1 - Dec 31: ~1% of court orders received have been explicitly identified as having been issued through MLAT procedures, coming from 5 different countries.
  • 2013: Jan 1 - Jun 30: ~1% of court orders received have been explicitly identified as having been issued through MLAT procedures, coming from 8 different countries.

Pen register / trap and trace orders

Originally developed to obtain phone numbers from telco providers, a pen register / trap and trace (PRTT) order (in the context of Twitter) provides law enforcement with legal authority to obtain IP address records from the account identified in the order, generally for 60 days.

  • 2013: Jul 1 - Dec 31: < 1% of court orders received were PRTT orders.
  • 2013: Jan 1 - Jun 30: ~5% of court orders received were PRTT orders.

User notice

ReportPercentage of requests under sealPercentage where user notice providedPercentage not under seal and no notice provided
2013: Jul 1 - Dec 31 28% 17% 55%
2013: Jan 1 - Jun 30 20% 19% 61%
2012: Jul 1 - Dec 31 20% 24% 56%
2012: Jan 1 - Jun 30 - - -
NOTE: The data in these reports is as accurate as possible, but may not be 100% comprehensive.

About the numbers

As noted in our Guidelines for Law Enforcement, Twitter’s policy is to notify users of requests for their account information unless we are prohibited or in an emergency situation.

  • Percentage of requests under seal:
    • ‘Under seal’ means that a court has issued an order legally prohibiting us from notifying affected users (or anyone else) about the request. 
  • Percentage where user notice provided:
    • When not prohibited, we send affected users notice of our receipt of a request for their information, including a copy of the legal process.
  • Percentage of requests not under seal and no notice provided for one or more of the following reasons:
    • The request was withdrawn by the requester prior to any disclosure.
    • The request was defective (e.g., improper jurisdiction, no valid Twitter @username), thus no action was taken and no information disclosed.
    • The request was an exigent emergency disclosure request; see our Guidelines for Law Enforcement for more about emergencies.
    • Local law may prohibit us from providing notice.

Removal Requests

ReportRemoval requests - Court OrdersRemoval requests - Gov’t agency, police, otherPercentage where some content withheldAccounts specifiedAccounts withheldTweets withheld
2013: Jul 1 - Dec 31 2 6 0% 11 0 0
2013: Jan 1 - Jun 30 2 0 0% < 10 0 0
2012: Jul 1 - Dec 31 2 2 0% 12 0 0
2012: Jan 1 - Jun 30 - - - - - -
NOTE: The data in these reports is as accurate as possible, but may not be 100% comprehensive.

About the numbers

This data includes government requests (and other complaints of illegal content from authorized reporters) we’ve received to remove or withhold content on Twitter from the United States. For more specific details, please refer to the latest report on removal requests.