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Twitter sees rise in number of government demands to remove content

Governments around the world made 43,387 legal demands for the removal of content from a record 196,878 Twitter accounts between January and June last year, according to the group's latest transparency report.

Twitter sees rise in number of government demands to remove content
Photograph: Alexander Shatov on Unsplash.

The number of accounts was up almost 50% from the previous six months, and the record number of removal requests rose 14%.

About 95% of the legal demands came from five countries: Japan, Russia, Turkey, India and South Korea. Twitter said it withheld access to content or required account holders to remove content in 54% of cases.

“We’re facing unprecedented challenges as governments around the world increasingly attempt to intervene and remove content,” Twitter's vice president of global public policy and philanthropy, Sinead McSweeney, said in a statement. “This threat to privacy and freedom of expression is a deeply worrying trend that requires our full attention.”

Social media companies face increasing pressure from governments and regulators over the material they allow on their platforms. In the past year, Twitter has been subject to new regulatory requirements in India and has even been banned in Nigeria. Social media companies will likely face more hurdles in the coming year if the UK’s Online Safety Bill is passed.

Twitter has also faced criticism in the USA over its role in facilitating misinformation and violent rhetoric over its platform.

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