Following in Google's wake, Twitter has released for the first time data on government requests for user information. The table shows that the US government is significantly more interventionist in terms of the number of times it has asked Twitter to hand over information than any other government in the world. From 1 January 2012, the US made 679 user information requests out of a total of 849, compared with 98 requests from the Japanese government, 11 each from the Canadian and British governments and under 10 for a slew of other countries.
Not only did the US put in the largest number of requests by far, it was also the most successful at extracting information out of Twitter, with some 75% of its bids eliciting some or all of the information asked for. Twitter said that it was bringing out its first transparency report to mark Independence Day, having been inspired by Google's example. The social media firm stressed that it passed on requests for user information to the Twitter account holder in all cases unless prohibited by law.
Twitter's report shows that it has received more government requests for information on users in the first half of 2012 than in the whole of 2011. Twitter says that from now on it will follow Google's example and produce a transparency report every six months.