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Photo by Mehmet Kaman/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Twitter said Wednesday that it nearly doubled its enforcement actions against accounts engaging in abuse and harassment and saw government requests for user information continue to rise in the back half of 2019.

The big picture: The reveals come as Twitter unveils an expansion of its transparency program. Big Tech firms are seeing greater public and political pressure to both crack down on bad behavior and explain their moderation practices.

Details: Twitter locked or suspended 47% more accounts for breaking its rules as compared to the first half of 2019, the company said in a blog post.

  • The company attributed the rise to more human review of potential violations, better reporting tools and more detailed policies on what behavior can trigger an enforcement action.
  • The greatest crackdown came in the categories of nonconsensual nudity as well as abuse and harassment, where account suspensions or bans in both cases roughly doubled. There was a 5% decrease, by contrast, in action over violent threats.

Between the lines: Such disparities may reflect past success in reducing certain types of bad behavior but work that still needs doing on others — or it may reflect Twitter's reviews determining that certain policy categories are a better fit than others for justifying action against an account.

  • A Twitter spokesperson noted that accounts may be reported for one type of behavior but banned or suspended for another.

Yes, but: Because the report only covers the second half of 2019, it doesn't include any data pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic, which has presented new moderation challenges for social media platforms as users flood the internet with misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Meanwhile: Requests for account information from law enforcement and other government bodies rose 21%, with the U.S. continuing to lead the world in requests.

The new stats come with a rebrand and expansion of Twitter's transparency resources. Twitter is launching a new website it's dubbing the Twitter Transparency Center (previously the Twitter Transparency Report) with new data visualizations and tools to let users compare trends over time and across different countries.

What's next: Twitter hopes to deliver the next update to its transparency stats, covering the first half of this year, faster than this one in the interest of getting out coronavirus-related data to the public more quickly.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
Nov 9, 2020 - Technology

Right-leaning social network Parler tops free app charts

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Parler, which calls itself a "viewpoint-neutral" social network and is growing popular among conservatives who feel mainstream social platforms are censoring them, is now topping the free app download charts, according to both Apple and Sensor Tower.

Why it matters: With Twitter and other mainstream social media apps more strictly enforcing rules against election-related falsehoods, more permissive, often right-leaning platforms have seen a surge of interest.

Tech firms' nightmare: Vanishing green cards

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Thousands of green cards are about to go to waste, leaving Google, Microsoft and other tech companies fuming — and pushing the Biden administration to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Why it matters: Tech workers have waited years for green cards that will grant them permanent legal status in the U.S. — but because of pandemic-related processing delays, they will have to wait even longer.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
17 mins ago - Energy & Environment

White House moves against "super-pollutant" in climate fight

Photo: Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

The EPA is finalizing rules today that cut powerful greenhouse gases used in air conditioning and refrigeration, part of a wider new White House strategy to deter these "super-pollutants" and boost manufacturing of substitutes.

Why it matters: The EPA regulation is the U.S. part of a planned global phase-down of chemicals called hydrofluorocarbons. The global phaseout can prevent up 0.5 °C of global warming by 2100, the White House said.