India sought more Twitter censorship than nearly every other country last year

Twitter received around 53,000 government requests to remove content in this period
India sought more Twitter censorship than nearly every other country last year<i></i>
Photo: Kacper Pempel (Reuters)
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India was one of the top countries to legally seek the removal of content from Twitter in the first half of 2022.

“Around the world, Twitter received approximately 53,000 legal requests to remove content from governments during the reporting period,” the microblogging website said on April 25. It also removed 6,586,109 posts that violated its rules; this was nearly 30% more than in the July-December 2021 period.

Besides India, the countries that sought user account information were the US, France, Japan, and Germany.

India also issued 3,992 legal demands to remove content from Twitter, including 114 accounts of verified journalists and news outlets during the second half of 2021.

In recent months, Twitter has been accused of acquiescing to the Indian government’s stance by blocking the accounts of prominent journalists, politicians, and activists. Prime minister Narendra Modi’s government has allegedly attempted to stifle free speech in the country. Twitter CEO Elon Musk admitted to the BBC earlier this month that India had “extremely strict” social media rules.

India’s demands for Twitter censorship have only risen

In the three years since 2019, India has requested user information of 11,877 accounts. Between 2014, when prime minister Modi first came to power, and 2019 when he was re-elected, India made only 1,389 such requests.

Meanwhile, some 97% of the total global volume of such demands since 2019 originated from Japan, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, and India.

Of these, most were requests to remove tweets by verified handles of journalists and news outlets and were filed in the July-December 2021 period. They accounted for 19% of all requests, Twitter’s 20th Transparency Report stated.