Twitter Loses Six-Year U.S. Legal Battle Over Surveillance Secrecy Disclosure

Twitter Inc. (TWTR) on Friday lost a six-year legal battle aimed at disclosing surveillance requests after a U.S. District Court ruled in favor of government arguments that this was poised to harm national security interests.

On Friday evening, U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers turned down the social media company’s demand to provide users with U.S. government surveillance requests it had received. The judge argued that granting Twitter’s request “would pose a clear and present danger or imminent harm to national security”.

Back in 2014, Twitter had sued the U.S. Department of Justice seeking the right to reveal the extent of U.S. government surveillance. More specifically, the social media company was pushing to reveal part of its “Draft Transparency Report,” arguing that the company’s free speech rights were being violated as it was blocked from disclosing surveillance requests.

Twitter shares have plunged over 20% since the beginning of the year as the coronavirus pandemic has led to a global economic slowdown and a downturn in advertising spending. On Friday, the company’s stock rose less than 1% to $26.70.

Five-star analyst Doug Anmuth at J.P. Morgan on Thursday lowered Twitter to Hold from Buy with a $29 price target, citing a number of risks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Twitter’s near-term revenue decline could be steeper than for others given ad challenges coming into the crisis, heavy dependency on product launches, events, sports, and high exposure to brand advertising,” Anmuth said.

Overall Wall Street analysts have a Hold consensus rating on Twitter based on 21 Holds, 8 Buys and 2 Sells. The $33.02 average price target projects 24% upside potential in the coming 12 months. (See Twitter stock analysis on TipRanks)
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