At 9% of the overall global request, the Indian government was the fifth largest requester of information from Twitter between July-December 2019, the microblogging platform has said in its latest transparency report. India had placed a total of 3,264 information requests, accounting for 3% of the 73,658 global information requests Twitter received between July-December 2019.
Top legal demands to remove content from Twitter and Periscope and other requests to remove content based on local laws originated from countries like Japan (45%), Russia (22%), Turkey (19%), and South Korea (5%) followed by India (3%).
Twitter said it saw a 21% increase in global account information requests. It received 789 account information requests from India.
Spike In Removal Requests
The company received a total of 782 legal content removal requests from India during the period under review. Worldwide, Twitter received around 27,538 legal content removal requests and its compliance rate was 34.7%.
Twitter said it saw a 50% increase in content removed compared to the last reporting period and a 27% increase in accounts suspended. Twitter said it saw a 47% increase in accounts actioned compared to the last reporting period.
India’s requests comprised 2,415 routine (38,835 worldwide), 369 emergencies (9,870 worldwide) and 480 combined (24,953 worldwide). There were 2,700 legal demands, Twitter revealed. The report captures data on matters such as Twitter’s rules enforcement statistics, legal demands on content removal made by countries to the platform, copyright takedown notices, and account information requests received from government, law enforcement agencies and third party
Twitter added that it witnessed a 47% jump in global legal demands for content removal during the period under review compared to the last reporting period (January-June 2019).
The platform said it removed 2.9 million pieces of content and suspended around 8.72 lakh accounts during the period under review. “There was a 54% increase in the number of accounts actioned for violations of our hateful conduct policy during the reporting period,” Twitter said in the report. There was a 95% increase in the number of accounts actioned for violations of Twitter’s abuse policy according to the report.
“In 2020, it is more important than ever that we shine a light on our own practices, including how we enforce the Twitter rules, our ongoing work to disrupt global state-backed information operations, and the increased attempts by governments to request information about account holders,” Twitter said in a separate blog post on the report.
What India’s Draft Intermediary Guidelines Say
In December 2018, MeitY had proposed amendments to the IT Act, with an aim to curb the misuse of social media platforms and the spread of fake news. Among other things, the draft proposed that the intermediary will have to deploy technology-based automated tools for proactively identifying and removing or disabling public access to unlawful information or content.
It also required intermediaries to enable tracing out of the originator of information on its platform and share the information within 72 hours of government communication. Further, upon receiving knowledge about any objectionable content in the form of a court order, or on being notified by the appropriate government or its agency, the intermediary shall remove or disable access to unlawful content in less than 24 hours.
Intermediaries have so far been sheltered from direct scrutiny under the safe harbour provisions set out in section 79 of the IT Act. These provisions exempt intermediaries from liability for any third party information shared on its platform.