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News Article

Twitter Reports Increase in Government Demand to Remove Content

By Andrea Villar | Wed, 07/14/2021 - 13:00

Over the past year, Twitter experienced a surge in demands from governments around the world to take down content posted by journalists and media outlets, reported Reuters, which had access to the platform’s transparency report. The Jack Dorsey-led company said in the report that the verified accounts of 199 journalists and media outlets on its platform globally were the subject of 361 legal demands from governments to remove content in 2H2020, a 26 percent increase from the first half of the year.

In recent years, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Alphabet's Google and YouTube have faced questioning and scrutiny from governments around the world over their policies and criteria for deciding what content is allowed on their platforms. Just this Monday, Cuba began restricting access to Facebook and messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp in response to anti-government protests, reported NetBlocks, an organization that tracks internet access. 

Requests for information can include governments or other entities requesting the identity of people tweeting under pseudonyms, Reuters noted. India ranked the highest of all government information requests in 2H2020 with 9,492 in total, surpassing the US, which is ranked second and comprised 22 percent of global information requests, Twitter said in the report. In third and fourth place are Japan and France with 17 and 14 percent. In Mexico, 486 information requests were reported in total.

On a global level, the platform said it received more than 14,500 requests for information over the period between July 1 and December 31 and submitted some or all of the information in response to 30 percent of the requests. Twitter also received more than 38,500 legal demands to remove various content, down 9 percent from 1H2020. The platform complied with 29 percent of those demands. According to the report, Mexico filed 284 legal demands during that period.

Mexico has also been involved in conflicts with Twitter over the regulation of online content and the dissemination of fake news. Back in May 2020, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador called on Facebook and Twitter to disclose who paid for so-called bots on the platform. In response, Twitter said it does not receive revenue from malicious automation, adding that the company employs advanced technology to proactively remove bots at scale before they appear in searches or on its timeline.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Reuters, Twiiter Transparency Report
Andrea Villar Andrea Villar Journalist and Industry Analyst