The Indian government’s information requests to Twitter have gone up over the years, reveals Twitter’s bi-annual Transparency report. In the first half (H1) of 2018, i.e. January to June 2018, the government sought information on 355 accounts. In H2 of 2017, government sought information for 315 accounts and in between January to June (H1) of 2017, the government requested information on 261 Twitter accounts.
In H1 2018, the number of requests has gone up by 12.6% as compared to the last report. India stood at sixth position among the countries making maximum account information requests.
The top five countries from which information requests are made:
|Country||Account information requests||% of requests where some information produced||Accounts specified|
Twitter, in all, received 6,904 account information requests. This is 10% more government information requests – the largest percentage increase since the July-December 2015 report- said Twitter.
Highlights from Twitter’s H1 2018 report
- Emergency disclosure requests by the government: The volume of global emergency disclosure requests (EDRs) continued to increase during the reporting period of H1, 2018. 23% of total global information requests received between January 1 – June 30, 2018 were EDRs. There was an increase of 36% in total EDRs received and 35% more accounts were specified compared to the previous report.
- India made 49 emergency disclosure requests and was among the top five countries making EDRs (see the table).
|Country||EDRs||% of requests where some information produced||Accounts specified|
2. Preservation requests: During this reporting period, Twitter received 1,369 global preservation requests specifying 3,602 accounts. This amounts to a 22% increase in requests, specifying 61% more accounts compared to the report of H2, 2017. Government entities issue preservation requests so that information pertaining to an investigation stored by service providers like Twitter is temporarily saved while they go through the necessary steps to get the valid legal process required to lawfully obtain that information. Upon receipt of a valid preservation request, Twitter temporarily preserves the information, but does not disclose, a snapshot of the relevant account information for 90 days pending issuance and service of valid legal process.
- India ranks sixth with 28 preservation requests made and 23 accounts specified. Top five governments making maximum preservation requests in H1 2018 are:
|Country||Account preservation requests||Accounts specified|
3. Information requests from non-government bodies: Twitter received 37% more requests, specifying 69% more accounts compared to the previous reporting period of H2 2017. Twitter disclosed account information in response to 35% of these legal requests, compared to 32% in the previous reporting period. It received non-government requests originating from 20 different countries since Twitter first began providing a country breakdown in their July 1 – December 31, 2015 report.
- Twitter received 1 account information request from India. Twitter provided some information on that request.
Other top five countries where private players requested information are as follows:
|Country||Account information requests||% of requests where some information produced||Accounts specified||% of requests where user notice provided|
4. Legal demands: Twitter received roughly 80% more global legal demands impacting approximately more than twice as many accounts, compared to the previous reporting period. It received legal demands specifying 27,811 accounts, from 38 different countries, including Oman and Panama, which appeared for the first time. According to its official statement, Twitter reviews all reported content in each demand for terms of service (TOS) violations, which resulted in some content being removed from Twitter on 7,808 accounts.
India ties with Japan with 9 court orders served to Twitter requesting for information.
The list of top five countries are:
|Country||Court orders||Other legal demands||% of legal demands where some content withheld||Accounts specified||Accounts withheld||Tweets withheld||Accounts (TOS)|
5. Copyright take downs: During H1 2018, Twitter served 58,100 copyright take-down notices. In 70% of the cases, information was taken down.
6. Platform manipulations: Twitter describes this as attempts to disrupt the health of the public conversation via malicious automation and spam tactics. Twitter received 4,020,893 spam reports in the H1 2018 and 232,453,596 accounts were reported to be spam.