Twitter says Serbia asked for information about 40 users

From January 2015 to June 2017, the government of Serbia has requested information about Twitter 40 users, the US company's transparency report shows.

Source: Beta
(Getty Images, illustration purposes, file)
(Getty Images, illustration purposes, file)

The report was carried by the Center for Investigative Reporting of Serbia (CINS) on its website, the agency Beta said on Monday.

The CINS website said that from January to June 2017, the government of Serbia addressed Twitter 12 times, asking for information about the same number of users of this social network - which provided "some data" in four of these cases.

According to the report, the government first contacted the company in 2015 with nine requests, filing 17 requests for verification of 19 profiles in 2016. With the 12 requests in the first half of 2017, the total number rose to 38, concerning 40 Twitter users.

Over the last two and a half years, in 24 percent of these cases, Twitter submitted some of the requested data to the Serbia government.

In addition, Serbia twice asked Twitter to remove certain profiles or content from the social network - once in the second half of 2015 and then again in the first half of 2016. The company said that these requests did not have a court order, with the applicant instead being a government agency, the police or some other body. Neither of the two requests had been accepted.

Removal requests mainly refer to content prohibited in a particular country, such as a court's request to remove an offensive statement or request to remove prohibited content such as Nazi symbols in Germany, the report said.

Serbia is not the only country in the region to address Twitter for information about its users. In 2015, Croatia and Montenegro did this once each, as did Albania in 2014.

This year, 6,448 requests for information on 11,115 user profiles have been received by Twitter, and in 60 percent of these cases, some data has been provided.

The United States tops the list with 2,111 requests on 4,594 users. Japan is second with 1,384 requests, followed by Britain, Turkey and France.

While Twitter provided most of these countries with some of the information requested, in the case of Turkey, it provided no response to 554 requests for 902 profiles. Turkey tops the list when it comes to the number of requests for removal of content - 715 by court order and 1,995 based on requests from government agencies or the police. Twitter "partially" removed this content in 23 percent of all cases.

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