NEW YORK: Twitter Inc saw a surge in demands over the course of last year from governments around the world to take down content posted by journalists and news outlets, data to be released by the social media platform for the first time will show.
In its transparency report to be published on Wednesday and a copy of which was seen by Reuters, Twitter said verified accounts of 199 journalists and news outlets on its platform globally were subject to 361 legal demands from governments to remove content in the second half of 2020, an increase of 26% from the first half of the year.
It declined to elaborate on which countries submitted the demands, or how many of the legal demands pertaining to journalists or news outlets the platform complied with.
The new details in Twitter’s biannual report on its enforcement of policy rules and the information and removal requests it receives comes as Twitter and other social media companies including Facebook and Alphabet’s YouTube are facing scrutiny from governments around the world over the content allowed on their platforms.
On Monday, Cuba began restricting access to Facebook and messaging apps like Telegram amid widespread anti-government protests. Last month, Nigeria banned Twitter’s service from the country and ordered television and radio stations not to use the platform to gather information.
Twitter said in the report India was now the single largest source of all information requests from governments during the second half of 2020, overtaking the United States, which was second in the volume of requests.
The company said globally it received over 14,500 requests for information between July 1 and Dec. 31, and it produced some or all of the information in response to 30% of the requests.
Such information requests can include governments or other entities asking for the identities of people tweeting under pseudonyms. Twitter also received more than 38,500 legal demands to take down various content, which was down 9% from the first half of 2020, and said it complied with 29% of the demands.