NEW DELHI — The Indian government was the single largest source of government information requests during the second half of 2020, accounting for 25 percent of the global volume, as per a Twitter Transparency Report released on July 14.

The microblogging site said India accounted for 25 percent of the global volume of requests and 15 percent of the global accounts involved during the July-December 2020 period.

During this period, Twitter received 38,524 legal demands to remove content specifying 1,31,933 accounts. Of this, Twitter received 3,463 routine information requests and 152 emergency requests from India during July-December.

In response to these demands, Twitter withheld or removed some or all of the reported content in response to 29 percent of these global legal demands, as per the report.

“Over the past year, we have experienced and continue to navigate severe global challenges, including the coronavirus pandemic,” the company said in a blog. 

“We have also seen concerted attempts by governments to limit access to the Internet generally and to Twitter specifically.”

For the July-December period, the compliance rate for government information requests was 30 percent globally. 

The second highest volume of information requests originated from the United States, comprising 22 percent of global information requests.

The United States submitted the highest volume of global emergency requests (34 percent), followed by Japan (17 percent), and South Korea (16 percent).

Also, 94 percent of the total global volume of legal demands originated from only five countries — Japan, India, Russia, Turkey, and South Korea.

Twitter also said that accounts of 199 verified journalists and news outlets from around the world were subject to 361 legal demands, which is a 26 percent increase from the January-June period.

The company said that while the total number of legal demands dropped by 9 percent compared to the last reporting period, the requests received during July-December sought content removal from “the largest number of accounts ever in a single reporting period.”

“India is the single largest source of government information requests, accounting for 25 percent of global volume. The requests jumped 258 percent between July-December 2020: Twitter Transparency Report. Silencing dissent through use of power,” tweeted Priyanka Chaturvedi, a Member of Parliament in India. 

Recently, Twitter named Vinay Prakash as the Resident Grievance Officer for India.

For the past several months, Twitter has been involved in a stand-off with the Indian government over the new amendments to the country’s Information Technology laws with the microblogging platform losing its intermediary status and becoming liable for user-generated content.

As per the new Information Technology rules, 2021, social media and streaming companies are required to take down contentious content quicker and appoint grievance redressal officers to deal with online content flagged by authorities and assist in government investigations.

(With inputs from ANI)

(Edited by Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Praveen Pramod Tewari)

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