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Not a single tweet withheld in India between Jan-June 2016: Twitter

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Between January 1st and June 30th 2016, Twitter did not withhold any tweets in India, the company revealed in its latest Transparency Report. In this period, the microblogging site received 1 court ordered removal requests and 42 removal requests from the police and various other government agencies. It complied with none of these requests.

It’s worth noting that in second half of 2015, the agency received 39 removal requests from the police and various other government agencies and 1 court order. Similarly, not a single tweet was withheld in that time period, or in the six months preceding that.

User information requests: Twitter received 139 government requests for account information from India that specified 495 accounts between January-June 2016. Out of this, Twitter provided some information for 31% of the requests. The requests numbers have declined from the 141 government requests that specified 333 user accounts the second half of 2015, of which the company had complied with 42% of the requests. Note that in the first 6 months of 2015, Twitter had received 113 government requests that specified 2,963 user accounts.

Overall, for the first half of this year, Twitter received 5,676  information requests for 13,152 accounts and the company provided some information in 69% of the cases. The maximum requests originated from the US (2,520) followed by Japan (732) and the UK (631).


Removal requests: Globally, a total of 761 court ordered removal requests were received by Twitter and 4,434 from various government agencies, police etc. Of this, Twitter withheld some content in 16% of the cases, including a total of 2,599 tweets and 2,587 accounts. The maximum court ordered removal requests and removal request from other agencies originated from Turkey (2,493), followed by Russia (1,601) and the UK (174).

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A note on Google & Facebook: Google and Facebook have both failed to release transparency reports for what is blocked, requested to be blocked etc., for India. The last time Google reported removal requests made by the Government of India was for January to June 2014, while Facebook on the other hand only reports data for the Americas, Europe and Africa.

Copyright & trademark notices: Starting this time around, Twitter will also report trademark notices, DMCA takedown requests, and email privacy practices of various companies. The company mentions that it received a total of 24,874 DMCA takedown notices in the first half of 2016, of which it removed 75%, including 79,513 tweets and 49,298 media clips. Vine, on the other hand, received 6,858 takedown notices of which 72% were complied with, while Periscope received 23,602 takedown notices of which 77% were removed. Note that Periscope was acquired by Twitter in March last year.

As for trademark notices, Twitter received 7,731 notices of which 12% of the material was removed, affecting 952 accounts worldwide. The company’s email privacy report rates most popular email providers as secure, including Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, Live and Hotmail etc.

Terrorist account removal: Last month, Twitter took additional steps to curb users who promote violent extremism and claimed to have suspended 235,000 accounts in the past six months. The company added that it has significantly made progress in disrupting these users from returning to the platform.

In February, Twitter said that it had suspended 125,000 accounts since mid-2015. This brings the total count to 360,000. The company added that daily suspensions are up over 80% since last year, with spikes in suspensions immediately after terrorist attacks.

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