Twitter Says It Is “Disappointed” With Justice Department’s Inaction On Transparency

In Twitter’s new transparency report, what’s most telling is what’s missing.

Twitter Says It Is “Disappointed” With Justice Department’s Inaction On Transparency
[Image: Flickr user Asher Isbrucker]

Twitter has released its latest transparency report detailing the government requests it receives for users’ account information as well as copyright takedowns. However, what’s most interesting about the report is what’s missing: the number of requests related to national security.


Twitter has been pushing the FBI and the Department of Justice to allow it to publish the amount of requests it receives concerning national security, but the social network says it has made no progress. In April, Twitter sent the DOJ a draft outlining the sort of information it would publish and asked for edits on what is or isn’t classified. The DOJ has yet to reply. As Twitter states in a blog post:

…we are weighing our legal options to provide more transparency to our users. While we are heartened by the latest version of the USA FREEDOM Act of 2014, as recently introduced by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT), which would reform certain aspects of government surveillance and allow Twitter to provide more meaningful transparency to its users, we remain disappointed with the DOJ’s inaction.

Although there’s no information on national security requests, Twitter’s transparency report does show a 46% increase in requests for users’ account information since its previous report, which covered July 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013.

In an effort to make the report as detailed as possible, Twitter is including exact numbers for all data categories, no matter how small, and breaking down the U.S.–the country with the highest volume of requests–into two datasets: requests that came from the government of a U.S. state or territory, and requests that came from other countries that have submitted “mutual legal assistance treaty requests through the DOJ.”

Read Twitter’s full transparency report here.

About the author

KC works covers entertainment and pop culture for Fast Company. Previously, KC was part of the Emmy Award-winning team at "Good Morning America" where he was the social media producer.