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TikTok transparency report: India leads in official user information and content takedown requests 

India topped the charts in several metrics revealed by TikTok as part of its transparency report for the second half of 2019 — content removals, legal requests for user information, and government requests for content takedowns. The revelations for the second half of 2019 are more or less in line with the first half of the year when India had led requests for user information and content takedowns. The report comes a week after TikTok, along with 58 other ‘Chinese’ apps was banned in India over national security concerns.

How India ranked

User information requests: In the second half of 2019, India made a total of 302 requests for user information — more than any other country — out of which 291 were legal requests, and 11 were emergency requests. In total, the country solicited information on 408 accounts, and TikTok handed over at least “some data” to India in 90% of these cases. “In limited emergency situations, TikTok will disclose user information without legal process, when we have reason to believe, in good faith, that the disclosure of information is required to prevent the imminent risk of death or serious physical injury to any person,” the company said.

Requests for user information made by countries in H2 2019 | Source: TikTok

India was followed by the US (100 total requests), Japan (16 total requests), and the UK and Norway, which made 10 user information requests in total.

Content takedown requests made by governments: India also made a total of 30 requests to remove certain content from TikTok, a disproportionately high number compared to the second-placed country on the list — Australia which made only 6 requests to remove content from the platform. India specified a total of 35 accounts from where the content was to be removed but was topped in this regard by the Netherlands, which specified to remove content from a total of 78 accounts in a single legal request.

Government requests for content removals made in H2 2019 | Source: TikTok

Content removals: Over a third of the total videos that TikTok took down from its platform in the second half of last year were in India. The platform took down a total of 4,92,47,689 videos globally, out of which 1,64,53,360 were in India. In fact, more videos were taken down in India compared to the subsequent top 4 countries in terms of removals combined.

Total number of videos TikTok took down in H2 2019 | Source: TikTok

TikTok claimed that the total number of taken down videos was less than 1% of the total videos created on the platform. It also claimed that its systems proactively caught and removed 98.2% of those videos before a user reported them, and of the total videos removed, 89.4% were taken down before they received any views.

In December 2019, 25.5% of the videos removed from TikTok fell under the category of adult nudity and sexual activities, while 24.8% of the removed videos violated the platform’s minor safety policies, which include content depicting harmful, dangerous, or illegal behaviour by minors.

Content containing illegal activities and regulated goods made up 21.5% of takedowns in the same month, while 15.6% of videos removed violated TikTok’s suicide, self-harm, and dangerous acts policy. Only 1% of the removed videos violated the platform’s hate speech policies.

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