India Leads In Number Of Govt Info Requests: Twitter Transparency

As the Indian government's information demand grows, Twitter's compliance rate drops.

India leads the world in the number of government information requests made to microblogging platform Twitter in the second half of 2020, according to the company's recently published transparency report.

Between July and December, 2020, the Indian government made 3615 requests for information, which marks a 46 per cent increase since the last report published in August, 2020. 3463 of them were routine requests, while 152 were emergency requests.

The number of specified accounts on which information was sought stood at 7762, marking a 27 per cent rise in the number of such accounts. Out of them, 7508 of the accounts specified were part of routine requests, while 254 were part of emergency requests.

Also Read: At 789, India Makes Its Most Requests Of Twitter Yet In 2nd Half 2019

Overall, India accounted for 25 per cent of the global volume of requests, and 15 per cent of the global accounts specified. The second highest number of requests came from the United States, comprising 22 per cent of the global information requests, and 60 per cent of the global accounts specified.

The company said it complied with 0.6 per cent of the 3,615 requests from the Indian government, while the company's rate of compliance in the United States for that same period was at 59 per cent.

The report also states that the Indian government accounted for 35 per cent of legal demands to take down accounts of verified journalists and news outlets, making 128 such legal requests out of 361 worldwide.

"Notably, this is the first time since we started publishing our transparency report in 2012 where the United States is not the top global requester," the company stated in the Transparency Report.

Rise In Requests, Drop In Compliance

Looking through the past transparency reports, we found a sharp rise in the number of government information requests by India since July, 2019.

Between the period of July-December, 2019 and January-June, 2020, there was a 231 per cent increase in such requests from the platform by the Indian government. The number of accounts specified between these time periods increased by 121 per cent.

A comparison of the figures from the past reports also reveal that as the Indian government's demand for information from the platform grows, Twitter's compliance rate drops.

Between the periods of July-December, 2018, and July-December, 2020, the number of requests have risen by 358 per cent, while Twitter's compliance rate has dropped from 18 per cent to 1 per cent.

The drop in compliance rate by the microblogging giant is symbolic of the tussle that the company is embroiled in with the Modi-administration, over what sort of content can feature on the platform. The government has time and again threatened legal actions against the company in India, for failing to comply with the Intermediary Guidelines implemented this year.

Also Read: Twitter Vs Indian Government: The Fight For Digital Sovereignty

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