6.2 Million-Plus Accounts Were Reported for Violating the Twitter Rules in the First Half of 2018

The social network expanded the information included in its biannual Transparency Report

Twitter suspended 205,156 accounts for terrorist content during the first half of 2018 kbeis/iStock
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Twitter released its 13th biannual Transparency Report, covering the first six months of 2018 and, for the first time, the social network shared data on enforcement of the Twitter Rules and platform manipulation.

The new Twitter Rules enforcement section covers six topics: abuse, hateful conduct, private information, child sexual exploitation, sensitive media and violent threats.

Twitter said in a blog post introducing the report that those six categories marked the most common reports it receives, and future editions of its Transparency Report will include more topics.

The social network added, “This data does not take into account content that has been actioned using technological tools, the goal of which is to limit the reach and spread of potentially abusive content. In addition, not every report we receive is actionable. For example, we receive a large volume of false reports that bad actors have submitted in a coordinated effort to detract from our enforcement capabilities. Furthermore, many of the reports that did not fall into these core categories were actioned under other policies, such as impersonation, unlawful use, evasion of suspension, etc.”

Twitter said a total of 6,229,323 unique accounts were reported for possible violations of the Twitter Rules during the first half of 2018, with 5,461 of those accounts reported by known government entities.

Action was taken on 605,794 unique accounts, with 1,750 of them having been reported by known government entities.

The numbers for each of the six categories were:

  • Abuse: 2,814,940 unique accounts reported, action taken on 248,629 of them
  • Child sexual exploitation: 48,770/21,878
  • Hateful conduct: 2,698,613/285,393
  • Private information: 409,756/12,140
  • Sensitive media: 1,912,207/28,900
  • Violent threats: 1,354,129/42,951

Twitter provided further details on its efforts to combat child sexual exploitation, saying that content it removes is immediately reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

The social network suspended a total of 487,363 accounts for violations related to child sexual exploitation during the first half of 2018, with 97 percent of those accounts “proactively flagged by a combination of technology, including PhotoDNA, and other purpose-built internal proprietary tools.”

Twitter also added a new section covering spam and other malicious forms of automation, saying in its blog post that some 75 percent of the accounts that were challenged and required to provide additional authentication details, such as email addresses and phone numbers, did not meet those requirements and were suspended.

The social network said the effectiveness of its proprietary technology to identify and challenge potential spammy accounts has led to a decline in reporting flow, from an average of 868,349 in January to 504,259 in June, adding that it built a new reporting flow to enable users to provide more signals.

Twitter said it suspended 205,156 accounts for terrorist content during the first half of 2018, with 91 percent of those accounts proactively flagged by its internal proprietary tools.

The social network added that the number of reports of terrorist content received from governments was down 77 percent in the first six months of 2018 compared with the last six months in 2017, adding that government reports on this topic now lead to fewer than 0.1 percent of suspensions.

Twitter said government requests for content removal were driven largely by Russia and Turkey, which accounted for 87 percent of total global requests.

Twitter received 628 court orders and 11,616 other demands from governments to remove content. Some content was withheld in 17 percent of those cases.

A total of 27,811 accounts were specified in those requests, with 527 accounts ending up withheld, 2,656 tweets being withheld and 7,808 accounts punished for violating Twitter’s terms of service.

Turkey was behind 508 court orders and 8,480 other demands during the first six months of the year, while 56 court orders and 1,585 other demands came from Russia.

Finally, Twitter received a total of 6,904 government requests for information, up 10 percent from the second half of 2017, marking the largest percentage increase since Twitter’s Transparency Report for the second half of 2015.

A total of 16,882 accounts were specified in those requests, and some information was produced on 56 percent of those requests.

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.