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Twitter Transparency Report: Info requests by Indian govt on the rise


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
USA 2,231 76% 9,226
Japan 1,426 67% 1,907
UK 947 70% 1,255
Turkey 445 0% 765
France 431 56% 723

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

  1. 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
UK 531 707 73%
USA 444 503 55%
Japan 248 324 55%
France 66 207 61%
India 49 59 4%


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
US 3,241 1,170
Spain 89 57
Canada 46 18
Australia 41 14
UK 37 25


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 
USA 77 212 17% 49%
Japan 58 347 71% 60%
Brazil 32 74 25% 81%
UK 10 15 20% 20%
France 9 36 56% 0%


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)
Turkey 508 8.480 18% 13,843 425 1,464 2,560
Russia 56 1,585 27% 2,053 59 357 764
Brazil 15 27 21% 89 0 52 26
UK 12 54 8% 249 0 15 48
India 9 237 5% 1,694 19 498 142
Japan 9 187 6% 1,101 2 82 482


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. 

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