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India tops list of nations seeking to block scribe and news content on Twitter: report

India made the highest number of legal requests in the world to remove content posted by verified journalists and news outlets on Twitter between July and December 2021, the microblogging platform said.

In its latest Transparency Report, Twitter said India was only behind the United States in seeking information from Twitter accounts, accounting for 19% of global information requests.

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

Twitter said 349 accounts of verified journalists and news outlets located around the world had 326 legal content removal requests, a 103% increase in the number of accounts since the previous period (January- June 2021).

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

India also topped the list for January-June 2021. During this period, India had made 89 of the 231 such requests received by the platform globally.

Twitter said the “legal requests” include a combination of court orders and other formal requests to remove content, both from government entities and from attorneys representing individuals.

Without giving details, 17 tweets from verified journalists and media around the world were withheld in the second half of 2021, compared to 11 tweets withheld from January to June.

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

Although Twitter did not name anyone, 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 posted by a high ranking political figure has been withheld in India in accordance with Indian law,” he said.

Twitter also received the second highest number of legal requests from the government to provide Indian user account information, after the United States.

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

“The second highest volume of requests came from India, comprising 19% of global information requests and 27% of specified global accounts,” he said.

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

“Twitter received 63 (+3%) additional 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 for 7,768 accounts,” the report said. .

Globally, Twitter received 11,460 requests.

Giving details of legal requests made from India, Twitter said a total of 3,992, or 8% of the world’s 47,572, requests to remove content from its platform were made between July and December 2021. These included 23 court orders and 3,969 other legal requests.

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

In accordance with Twitter guidelines, “requests for government information” include both emergency and routine lawful requests for account information by law enforcement and other government agencies.

“Routine requests” (i.e. non-emergency requests) are lawful requests issued by government or law enforcement authorities (e.g., subpoenas, court orders , search warrants) that compel Twitter to provide account information.

Twitter said it may release account information to law enforcement in response to a valid “emergency request” if it receives enough information to support a good faith belief that a threat exists. impending danger of death or serious physical injury to a person. , and it has relevant information to avoid or mitigate the threat.

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

India is the fifth largest claimant, accounting for 8% of global legal claims.

“Maintaining its position among the top five requesters, Indian authorities continued to submit a significant number of lawful requests during the reporting period, which also included a high volume of URLs,” he said.

Regarding “preservation requests”, he said preservation requests from world governments increased by 10%, while specified accounts increased by 19% during this reporting period.

The United States (34%) and India (51%) together accounted for 85% of all global preservation requests.

“Preservation Requests” means government and law enforcement requests made pursuant to applicable law that require Twitter to preserve specified account data pending issuance of valid legal process to obtain such data.