Twitter reports record high government demands for account info

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
The Twitter application is seen on a digital device, Monday, April 25, 2022, in San Diego.

Twitter reported on Thursday that it received record numbers of government legal demands targeting journalists from July to December of last year.

The tech giant reported an increase of 103 percent increase in overall legal demands related to verified journalists and news outlets, such as requests to remove content or court orders.

It received a total of 47,572 demands regarding 198,931 accounts. About a quarter of those demands, 11,460, were made by governments, 20 percent of which were from the U.S. government.

“We continue to see a concerning trend toward attempts to limit global press freedom, with an increase in government legal demands targeting journalists, as well as an overall increasing number of legal demands on accounts – both represent record highs since reporting began,” Twitter wrote in its transparency report.

Twitter also received about 11,500 requests for information about accounts during the reporting period, a 7 percent drop from the previous six months.

The highest percentage of information requests coming from governments originated from the U.S. government, according to the report.

Twitter said it objected to 29 U.S. requests for account information that would have helped the government determine the identities of anonymous users.

“Of those 29 requests, we filed lawsuits to fight back in two instances and succeeded in convincing courts to apply First Amendment protections in one case. The other case remains pending,” Twitter wrote.

However, it complied with 69 percent of total U.S. information requests, despite narrowing some of those demands by providing only part of the requested information.

The company said that it narrowed or did not disclose information in response to 60 percent of government requests globally.

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