Over 70 percent of legal requests to Twitter in first half of 2018 from Turkey

In the first six months of 2018, Turkey submitted approximately 73 percent of the worldwide total legal request to Twitter to withhold content, the social media company said in its latest transparency report.

Turkey also submitted the highest number of removal requests in Twitter’s previous report, with 45 percent of the worldwide total.

The volume of legal demands from Turkey doubled in the first half of 2018, Twitter said, partly due to Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish rebels in the northwestern Syrian province of Afrin, which started in January and ended after two months.

In the same period, Twitter received legal demands worldwide for 135 accounts of verified journalists and news outlets, it said

The majority of these requests originated from Turkey, which specified 90 of these accounts, Twitter said. The company withheld two accounts violating Turkey’s anti-terror law.

Twitter said it had filed 113 legal objections with Turkish courts in response to 508 court orders on the grounds that they had not complied with the principles of freedom of speech, freedom of press, and/or did not specify the content at issue. Four objections were accepted in full and one was partially granted.

Twitter also received five court orders asking the company to remove allegedly defamatory Tweets from newspapers and news outlets related to a Turkish imam, which it said was known for his controversial views on women’s rights.

The company said it had not taken action on the 25 reported Tweets either, because of the political nature of the content or the fact that the users had already deleted the content.

One of the most popular Turkish soccer clubs and its president submitted 16 court orders for violation of personal rights, Twitter said. The company withheld 114 Tweets in response to these court orders.

“We received a court order regarding accounts impersonating Professor Ilber Ortayli, one of the most popular Turkish historians. We suspended two accounts for violating our parody, newsfeed, commentary, and fan account policy,” Twitter said. 

Turkey's removal requests from Twitter since 2012. (source: Twitter Transparency Report)
Turkey's removal requests from Twitter since 2012. (source: Twitter Transparency Report)