Twitter laments government roadblocks in fifth transparency report

Twitter laments government roadblocks in fifth transparency report

Summary: Intellectual property is actually an overlooked hotspot given Twitter received nearly 10,000 copyright takedown requests for the micro-blogging site and subsidiary Vine.

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After providing a clearer picture of the diversity (or lack thereof) of its workforce last week, Twitter followed up with a regularly scheduled transparency report on Thursday.

However, the social network launched the fifth edition of the report lamenting that it hasn't been able to get anywhere in pushing its agenda for further transparency with government agencies.

Jeremy Kessel, senior manager of global legal policy at Twitter, explained further in a blog post how Twitter wants to provide more specificity about different kinds of national security requests, among other metrics.

Highlighting talks earlier this year with both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the US Department of Justice, Kessel continued:

Unfortunately, we were not able to make any progress at this meeting, and we were not satisfied with the restrictions set forth by the DOJ. So in early April, we sent a draft midyear Transparency Report to DOJ that presented relevant information about national security requests, and asked the Department to return it to us, indicating which information (if any) is classified or otherwise cannot lawfully be published.

Kessel noted that more than 90 days have passed since submitting these requests, and Twitter has yet to receive a reply.

That said, Twitter cited it received 2,058 data and information requests from government agencies across 54 countries between January and June 2014.

That is a 46 percent increase from the previous six-month period, bumped up also because it includes data requests from eight additional countries not included in the previous time frame.

Of those inquiries, 432 were demands to remove content within 31 countries.

But the biggest source of controversy actually exists more around intellectual property given that Twitter received 9,199 copyright takedown requests for Twitter and Vine content, up 38 percent.

The micro-blogging giant commenced publishing bi-annual transparency reports during the summer of 2012, nearly one year ahead of the NSA revelations leaked by former government contractor Edward Snowden.

Nevertheless, Twitter was not one of the nine tech giants cited as data treasure troves for the federal agency's previously secret, now-controversial surveillance activities.

Twitter is having a fairly good week otherwise.

On Tuesday, the San Francisco-based company reported much, much better-than-expected second quarter earnings, largely fueled by the uptick in monthly active users driven by the World Cup in June and July.

Twitter delivered a net loss of $145 million, or 24 cents per share (statement). Yet, non-GAAP earnings were two cents per share on a revenue of $312 million, up 124 percent year-over-year.

Wall Street was braving for a loss of a penny per share on a revenue of $283.07 million.

Twitter stock owners were certainly chipper from the news, sending Twitter shares soaring that afternoon upwards of 20 to 30 percent.

Topics: Data Management, Government US, Legal, Social Enterprise

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