Twitter saw a rise in govt orders to remove content by journalists and media in 2020

By Arya M Nair, Official Reporter
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Twitter, the microblogging and social networking service, witnessed a surge in government orders worldwide in 2020 to take down content posted by journalists and media firms, according to data released by the social media platform.

The report says that in the second half of 2020, governments had issued 361 legal demands to remove content from verified accounts of 199 journalists and news outlets on Twitter, up 26 percent from the first half of the year.

The biannual report on Twitter’s policy enforcement and the information and removal requests it receives comes as social media giants such as Facebook and YouTube undergoes government audit globally for the content they allow on their platforms.

According to the report, India topped the list for government information requests in the second half of 2020, exceeding the United States for the first time followed by Turkey, Pakistan, and Russia.

Some governments have taken steps to ban or limit the use of social media sites. In the wake of significant anti-government rallies, Cuba began blocking access to Facebook and messaging applications like Telegram. Nigeria banned Twitter from the country last month and told television and radio stations not to use the network for newsgathering.

Twitter received over 38,500 legal demands to remove various content, down 9 percent from the first half of 2020, It complied with 29 percent of the demands.

The updated transparency report has also revealed that the number of impressions, or views of a tweet, that broke Twitter’s rules accounted for less than 0.1 percent of total global views in the second half of 2020.

Twitter has been battling with governments, most notably with India over its new social media content rules. The company announced last week that it had appointed an interim chief compliance officer in India and would hire other officials to look into the rules.

Related: Twitter is working on new features to offer better control over tweets