Earlier this week, Project Veritas, which hosts sting operation-style videos produced by self-proclaimed "guerrilla journalist" James O'Keefe, posted footage that appears to show Twitter engineers admitting that teams of employees access users' data.
In one brief clip, a senior network security engineer appears to say that the social media company would be able hand over President Donald Trump's data, including deleted tweets and direct messages, to the Department of Justice, subject to a subpoena.
Last week, Twitter criticized Project Veritas in a public statement for its "deceptive" and "selectively edited" report.
We deplore the deceptive and underhanded tactics by which this footage was obtained and selectively edited to fit a pre-determined narrative. Twitter only responds to valid legal requests and does not share any user information with law enforcement without such a request.Referencing its privacy policies and terms of service which explain how it holds and stores information that users choose to share, Twitter said it is "committed to enforcing our rules without bias and empowering every voice on our platform, in accordance with the Twitter Rules".
Project Veritas has been criticized in the past for using underhand and deceitful methods in its investigations. In November last year, one of its undercover employees was caught trying to bait reporters at The Washington Post by falsely claiming to be a sexual assault victim of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore.
Twitter regularly reveals the number of legal requests it receives and responds to in its biannual transparency report. The company received 2,111 government information requests in the U.S. and produced at least some information for 77 percent of them during the period between January 1 and June 30, 2017.
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