The latest update to our bi-annual transparency report, covering the period of July-December 2022, is now available. In it, we are sharing data about government information requests as well as government takedown demands. We’re also including information on data access and removal requests we receive, and notices of copyright and trademark infringement.
User privacy and rights is an area of our work that has grown in volume in recent years. In 2020, we began tracking the number of requests we receive from users exercising their privacy rights. You can see more information about these reports here. However, there are a few notable points in this round:
Automattic honours Access Requests received from any source or location. These are requests from users for their own data, or personal information, as saved on our service. As we receive more and more of these requests, we are working to improve process wait times. We are pleased to share that compared to the previous reporting period, the average time to process an Access Request was faster by 2.6 days (13.8%).
When it comes to deleting data, this is tied to our account closure process, which is self-serve. Because it is self-serve, we do not have all data on the full number of users who desired to delete their personal information, but we do have data on the total number of deletion requests that were made through our support team. Compared to the previous reporting period, the number of support requests about deleting content increased by 8,267 (63.5%). Although this number showed a very large increase, by region, requests from EU/GDPR dropped 53 (39.8%).
We show ads on some of our users’ sites as well as some of our own sites, to generate revenue which allows us to offer free access to some of our services. We also offer an opt-out of this program of personalized ads, which we refer to as “data sales”. Compared to the previous reporting period, the number of requests to opt out of data sales increased by 332,444 (3,472.7%).While this is an immense increase in these requests from the last reporting period, the number of requests was still 50% less (340,825) than in the reporting period of July 1 – December 31, 2021.
We have two new areas that will be featured in this round of the Transparency Report: the Digital Services Act (DSA) and EU Terrorist Content Removal Orders. Because these will be evolving parts of our transparency reporting, we will iterate on and improve our reporting in these areas moving forward.
The Digital Services Act is an EU law that includes a number of new requirements around how platforms like Tumblr interact with our users and their content. The DSA aims to limit the spread of illegal content published online. Automattic is already complying with this regulation and its goals around transparency and so we hope that the information we publish will be valuable to users as well as to EU governments.
EU Terrorist Content Removal Orders
The EU Regulation on preventing the dissemination of terrorist content online is a new system for EU member states to order the removal of content which they deem to be created for terrorist purposes. In addition to immediately actioning content upon receipt of these orders, we are also publishing new transparency report data specific to them.
It is worth noting that Terrorist content has never been allowed on our platforms. However, at this time we will continue partnering with industry coalitions and with law enforcement agencies worldwide to combat violent extremism online.
Though we have yet to receive one of these removal orders, we are reporting on this now in accordance with the regulation.
We hope you find this information interesting and helpful. As always, please contact us if you have any questions or suggestions about these reports.