Social networking site Twitter has refused requests from governments to remove some tweets from the website.
Inspired by Google revealing who asked it to pull search results and why, Twitter aired its first public transparency report, sharing basic information about what it had shared with governments.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the company claimed that it received more government requests in those six months than all of last year, which pointed to a surge that parallels the growing demands on Google to crimp search results or remove videos.
Twitter agreed to provide governments at least some information about hundreds of other microbloggers, the report said. The vast majority of the requests came from the United States, which asked for information on more than 900 users, where Twitter provided at least some information in 75% of those cases.
The company also agreed to produce information to Netherlands, Greece Australia, Japan, Canada and Britain. However, it produced none of the requested information to more than a dozen other countries including Turkey, Mexico, Peru and Spain.
"If we receive information that gives us a good faith belief that there is an emergency involving the death or serious physical injury to a person, we may provide information necessary to prevent that harm, if we have it," the company added in its guidelines.
Twitter also rejected the few government requests it got this year to take down tweets or close accounts. France, Greece, Pakistan, Turkey and Britain asked Twitter to remove messages or cancel accounts from a total of 18 users in the last six months, but none of them were removed, the report said.
The microblogging service has become an increasingly global network for spreading ideas and information and has also become a new frontier for clashes over speech, with tweets getting dissidents in trouble in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
Twitter's move to release a transparency report comes as online companies with access to extensive amounts of user data, such as Google, are attempting to bolster their reputations as defenders of privacy.