Twitter has recently (March 21, I only found out a short while ago) posted their latest transparency reports, covering the latter half of 2016, a telling time of deepening divisiveness in politics. As a result, politically motivated hateful speech has run rampant and the figures regarding governmental removal of tweets promise to be interesting. Furthermore, following the U.S. election and preceding an interesting European election season, pressure has been building on companies that hold lots of user accounts – such as Twitter and Facebook – to counter hate speech with European officials brawling that in case these companies do not forcefully remove content, penalization follows.
Effects of this growing distrust shows as Twitter is especially happy to show that their spam filters have blocked 376,890 terrorist-linked accounts. More interesting seems to be that governmental inquires have increased by seven percent.
Front-runner – not a good thing – in terms of absolute numbers is once again Turkey, whose growing authoritarian regime issued 3,076 removal requests over the past six months (note that the vote for the Turkish referendum was on the 16th of April, full data for that period is not available yet, although it promises an even stricter cut-down on tweets). 72.5% Of Turkish requests were issued by the government itself, the other 27.5% were issued by court order. Comparing to France and Germany, we see that 0% of all requests were issued by court order, exemplifying increasing politicization of the judiciary branch, common steps toward an authoritarian crack-down.
Coming back to France and Germany, we note that they have both issued a high number of removal requests relative to the rest of the European Union, with 1,334 and 236 requests respectively (France’s numbers are more than twice as high as Russia’s). France’s numbers can initially be seen as a result of dreadful terrorist attacks over the past few years, note, however, that only 21% of the request were complied with, meaning that not all were deemed to conflict with Twitter’s agreements – which terrorist-linked tweets do. However, when put in relative context – with regard to the number of inhabitants – the stats show a rather equal removal of tweets over the European Union, fairly little.
Only a short evaluation, but some very interesting data indeed, check it out