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Removal requests

Removal requests include government requests (and other complaints for removal of content from authorized reporters) we have received to remove or withhold content on Twitter.

Governments generally make removal requests for content that may be illegal in their respective jurisdictions. For example, we may receive a court order requiring the removal of defamatory statements, or law enforcement may ask us to remove prohibited content. Requests regarding the removal of content that may violate our terms of service are generally not included below.

Latest report: Removal requests

January 1 - June 30, 2015

CountryRemoval requests (Court Orders)Removal requests (Gov’t agency, police, other)Percentage where some content withheldAccounts specifiedAccounts withheldTweets withheld
Argentina------
Australia------
Brazil17438%*281*403
Canada010%100
Colombia------
Cyprus------
Ecuador------
France3297%3702
Germany21286%20106
Greece------
Hong Kong------
India2310%6500
Indonesia030%87800
Iraq010%000
Ireland------
Italy020%300
8856%1860220
Kazakhstan010%400
Kenya------
Kuwait------
Lebanon------
Malaysia010%100
Mexico010%100
Mongolia050%500
Netherlands040%400
Norway------
Pakistan060%6000
Russia06863%1772256
Singapore------
South Korea0400%5900
Spain200%100
Switzerland------
Turkey40831034%*1,978125*1,667*
United Arab Emirates------
United Kingdom090%1500
United States0250%7100
Venezuela------
TOTAL44256142%3,594158*2,354*

NOTE: The data in these reports is as accurate as possible, but may not be 100% comprehensive. It may be necessary to side-scroll to see all the table columns depending on the screen resolution.

About the numbers

We have received 26% more removal requests impacting 11% more accounts since the previous reporting period. The majority of these requests came from Turkey (718) and Russia (68), resulting in the collective withholding of 147 accounts and 1,723 Tweets for these countries alone.

Overall, for this reporting period, 158 accounts and 2,354 Tweets were withheld in various countries around the world.

Withheld content

The data includes all instances where we employed our Country Withheld Content (CWC) tool. Over the last six months of 2015, we continued to see an increase in the number of demands to remove content, including requests from three new countries (none of which resulted in any withholdings): Iraq, Malaysia, and Mongolia. Since our first report was published in 2012, we have used CWC in nine countries: Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, Netherlands, Russia, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

Recent examples:

Brazil

We received 17 court orders related to defamation. Several orders are currently under further judicial review based on our objection.

Germany

We received two court orders about defamation and 12 requests from Jugendschutz regarding prohibited symbols and illegal discriminatory content.

Turkey

We received a combined 718 court orders and other requests from Turkish authorities directing Twitter to remove content based on violations of personal rights and other local laws. We filed legal objections with Turkish courts in response to 60% of Turkish orders received. Our objections prevailed 5% of the time.

Pakistan

We received six requests from the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). We denied all requests to limit speech about territorial conflicts involving Pakistan.

Russia

We received 68 requests from the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications (Roskomnadzor) regarding content determined to violate Federal Law 139 and Federal Law 398.

Un-Withheld Content

The data also includes instances where we have un-withheld content (marked with an asterisk ‘*’). Typically content is un-withheld when an appeal of a court order regarding particular content results in the original decision being overturned. During this reporting period, we un-withheld content in Brazil and Turkey.

Details:

Brazil

We un-withheld 1 account previously subject to an injunction for being offensive to a public figure in Brazil.

Turkey

We un-withheld 8 accounts and 20 Tweets, typically following the acceptance of objections that Twitter filed in the Turkish courts.

Footnotes

  • ‘Percentage where some content withheld’ does not include situations where a user decided to remove the content at issue him/herself or requests identified as Terms of Service violations.
  • Each request may identify multiple items to be removed. For example, a single request may ask us to remove individual Tweets or an entire user account.
  • ‘Accounts specified’ includes the number of accounts identified in the government requests we’ve received.
  • Where permitted, Twitter has published copies of the removal requests which have resulted in withheld content to Chilling Effects.
  • We may not comply with every request or all aspects of a request for a variety of reasons. For example, we do not comply with requests that fail to identify content on Twitter. We carefully evaluate all requests, particularly any requests to remove journalists’ accounts or Tweets.