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Twitter follows Google’s lead and releases Transparency Report

It is always interesting to see how governments and social networks interact.

The rise in popularity of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter has provided more people than ever before in history with a platform to voice their opinions on a global stage.

Some political movements may start out as small and localised, but once they hit the internet they can quickly go viral and within days garner the support of thousands if not millions of people around the world.

An example of this is the turmoil in Egypt in early 2011 – social media was thought to be a driving factor behind the large scale uprisings that hit the North African country.

However, it is not only rebels that turn to social networks to find support. Leading politicians have also made sure that they maintain a high presence on these websites.

President of the United States Barack Obama has his own Pinterest account, and here in Australia government agencies and officials use Twitter as a way to communicate press releases, important announcements and more.

Yet politicians and governmental departments aren't always so quick to embrace the freedom of speech that social media sites display.

On Monday (July 2) Twitter followed in the footsteps of Google and released its first ever Transparency Report, which details government requests for user information or to withhold content, as well as takedown notices from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

This move by Twitter suggests that the microblogging site is dedicated to protecting people's right to post original content online.

In addition, the social network hopes that releasing regular transparency reports will hold governments accountable.

Here in Australia, our authorities do not seem too worried about user information – less than ten requests for access were made, putting us on par with most other developed nations including France, Germany and Switzerland.

The United States, on the other hand, seems very keen to get their hands on user details. A total of 679 requests were made dated back to January 1 2012.

Posted by Jess O'Connor