Turkey Responsible for More than Half of Twitter’s Content Removal Requests and Other Trends from the MENA Region

On April 6, Twitter launched the 12 Twitter Transparency Report, its 12th biannual report documenting the requests the company receives from governments to remove content or reveal account information. Twitter splits removal requests into three categories: court orders, reports based on the violation of local laws, and government reported violations of the company’s terms of service. Likewise, Twitter splits account information requests into two categories: emergency removal requests, which law enforcement can make in cases that involve an immediate risk of death or physical injury, and regular requests. When parsing the data, it is important to note that a single request can pertain to multiple accounts. Here are the relevant trends in the MENA region between July and December 2017:

  • Turkey made 4,294 requests for content removal, accounting for over half of the total requests during this period. Twitter removed 2,157 of the reported 6,544 accounts for violating its terms of services and it only withheld content in 3% of these cases.
  • Removal Requests from MENA Governments

    • UAE: 14 requests concerning 72 accounts
    • Kuwait: 8 requests concerning 15 accounts
    • Saudi Arabia: 3 requests concerning 3 accounts
    • Iraq: 1 request concerning 1 account
    • Qatar 1 request concerning 1 account
    • Twitter withheld no content and complied in all of these cases.

A map displaying requests for content removal in the second half of 2017.

  • Information Requests from MENA Governments

    • Saudi Arabia: 30 requests
    • UAE: 29 requests
    • Jordan: 10 requests
    • Qatar: 7 requests
    • Egypt: 2 requests
    • Twitter produced information for 23% of Saudi Arabia’s requests (42 accounts) and produced information for 41% of the UAE’s requests (32 accounts). It produced no information for requests made by the other MENA region countries.
    • With the exception of Qatar, the MENA region governments only submitted emergency disclosure requests for account information.
  • In 2017, Lebanon made no removal requests or account information requests for the first time since 2012.

A map displaying requests for account information in the second half of 2017.

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