Twitter unlikely to rat out users to the cops, new report shows

Twitter unlikely to rat out users to the cops, new report shows
Twitter turns down most requests for info from UK authorities

Twitter is denying UK police requests for details on its members a vast majority of the time, according to the company's annual transparency report.

The social network claimed it had received 25 requests from the British authorities in the second half of 2012, asking it to reveal the real people behind accounts.

On only one occasion did Twitter comply with the appeals.

The revelation comes following an outcry over internet trolling and as UK lawmakers seek to establish prosecution guidelines regarding folks caught posting highly offensive and abusive material online.


The British authorities made the third highest number of requests to Twitter during Q3 and Q4 2012.

Unsurprisingly, it was our American cousins who spent the most time pestering Twitter for details, with 815 requests relating to 1145 accounts.

In those cases Twitter provided some or all of the requested information 69 per cent of the time, compared with only 4 per cent in the UK.

Twitter said whenever it receives an inquiry from the authorities, it informs the user in question and will not give up any info if the user "challenges" the request.

The company also said it will not give up users over requests that are "too broad" or unrelated to a specific Twitter account.

Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.