By Fiona Mehta
Legal demands to take down content posted by journalists and news agencies has been on a consistent rise across the world in the last decade, Twitter officials said in July 2022.
In its latest transparency report, Twitter said India was only behind the US in seeking Twitter account information, accounting for 19 per cent of global information requests. It was among the top five countries to issue content-blocking orders to Twitter during July-December 2021 for all kinds of users.
Twitter said 349 accounts of verified journalists and news outlets located around the world were subject to 326 legal demands to remove content, a 103 per cent increase in the number of accounts since the previous period (January-June 2021). This spike was largely attributed to legal demands submitted by India (114), Turkey (78), Russia (55), and Pakistan (48). India had topped this list for January-June 2021 as well. In that timeframe, India had made 89 of the total 231 such demands the platform received globally.
Twitter said ‘legal demands’ include a combination of court orders and other formal demands to remove content, from both governmental entities and lawyers representing individuals. Twitter said it received a legal demand from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in India to remove content relating to privacy issues involving a minor. Twitter also received the second highest number of government legal requests for providing account information of users from India, after the US.
Giving details of legal demands made from India, Twitter said a total of 3,992, or 8 per cent of 47,572 worldwide, requests to remove content from its platform were made during July-December 2021. These included 23 court orders and 3,969 other legal demands. During this period, Twitter withheld 88 accounts and 303 tweets in India.
Together, the US and India accounted for 34% and 51% of all preservation requests worldwide, respectively. “Preservation requests” are demands from the government and law enforcement that Twitter must abide with in order to keep the specified account data in tact until a legitimate legal process is issued to retrieve it.