India tops list of nations seeking blocking tweets by journalists, news outlets: Twitter report

In its latest transparency report, Twitter said India made 114 requests to block tweets posted by verified accounts of writers and news companies between July and December 2021.

In its latest transparency report, Twitter said India made 114 requests to block tweets posted by verified accounts of writers and news companies between July and December 2021.

India has the highest number of legal requirements worldwide to remove content posted to Twitter by verified journalists and news outlets in July-December 2021, the microblogging platform said.

In its latest transparency report, Twitter said India was only behind the US in seeking Twitter account information, accounting for 19% of global inquiries.

It was among the top five countries to issue content-blocking orders to Twitter for all types of users in July-December 2021.

Twitter said 349 accounts of verified journalists and news outlets around the world were subject to 326 legal requirements to remove content, a 103% increase in the number of accounts since the previous period (January-June 2021).

“This spike is largely attributed to legal demands filed by India (114), Turkey (78), Russia (55) and Pakistan (48),” it said.

Also read | Twitter moves Karnataka High Court over government content-blocking orders

India also topped this list for January-June 2021. During that time, India had made 89 of a total of 231 requests the platform received worldwide.

Twitter said “legal demands” are a combination of court orders and other formal demands to remove content, from both government agencies and lawyers representing individuals.

Without giving details, 17 tweets from verified journalists and news outlets worldwide were withheld in the second half of 2021, compared to 11 tweets in January-June.

Twitter said it has received a legal request from the National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child in India to remove content related to privacy issues involving a minor.

Twitter did not name anyone, but the reference was to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s tweet from August last year, when he shared a photo of the parents of an underage Dalit girl who was allegedly raped.

“The reported tweet published by a high-ranking political figure was withheld in India in accordance with Indian law,” the report said.

Twitter also received the second highest number of government legal requests to provide user account information from India, after the US

“The United States made the most requests for information from government during this reporting period, accounting for 20% of global volume and 39% of specified global accounts.

“The second highest number of requests came from India, comprising 19 percent of global inquiries and 27 percent of specified global accounts,” it said.

Japan, France and Germany were the other three countries in the top five by volume.

“Twitter received 63 (+3%) more routine requests from India, while the number of specified routine accounts increased by 205 (+3%) during this reporting period, for a total of 2,211 requests across 7,768 accounts,” the report said.

Worldwide, Twitter received 11,460 requests.

Twitter provided details of India’s legal requirements, saying that in July-December 2021, a total of 3,992 or 8% of 47,572 worldwide requests to remove content from its platform. These include 23 court orders and 3,969 other legal requirements.

During this period, Twitter withheld 88 accounts and 303 tweets in India.

Under the Twitter guidelines, “governmental information requests” include both emergency and routine legal requirements for account information issued by law enforcement and other government agencies.

“Routine requests” (also known as non-urgent requests) are legal requirements issued by government or law enforcement agencies (e.g., subpoenas, court orders, search warrants) that compel Twitter to disclose account information.

Twitter said it can release account information to law enforcement agencies in response to a valid “emergency request” if it receives enough information to believe in good faith that there is an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to a person, and it has information relevant to averting or mitigating the threat.

“97% of the total global volume of legal demands came from just five countries (in descending order): Japan, Russia, South Korea, Turkey and India. These five countries have remained Twitter’s top requesting countries for the past three years to make legal demands. years,” the report said.

India is the fifth largest applicant, accounting for 8% of global legal requirements.

“The Indian authorities maintained their position in the top five applicants and continued to submit a significant number of legal requirements during this reporting period, including a large number of URLs,” the report said.

As for “retention requests,” it said global government retention requests were up 10%, while itemized accounts were up 19 percent during this reporting period.

The US (34%) and India (51%) together accounted for 85% of all global retention requests.

“Retention Requests” refer to government and law enforcement requests made in accordance with relevant law requiring Twitter to retain the specified account information pending the issuance of a valid legal process to obtain that information.

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