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Twitter Transparency Report Shows Governments are Requesting More Censorship, Data Disclosure

Victor resides in the Netherlands and writes about freedom and governmental and social changes to the democratic form of nations.
Published: August 4, 2022
Governments are demanding Twitter takedown posts and ban accounts at an increasing rate, a new transparency report states.
The logo of social network Twitter is seen on a smartphone screen. The Big Tech keystone reported it has given in to an increasing number of information requests by governments worldwide. (Image: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Twitter’s 20th Transparency Report revealed that the company had conceded to an increasing number of government information requests, while at the same time posturing to the public that they are opposed to the practice.

The report says the social media giant was instructed to scrap several tweets and close down numerous accounts at the behest of a number of unspecified governmental agencies.

Freedom of speech

Verified reporters and media outlets were targeted at an escalated rate — a trend that signals a growing habit by governments of clamping down on freedom of speech as they struggle to maintain social stability and ensure power.

MORE ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND GOVERNMENT OVERREACH

“We continue to see a concerning trend toward attempts to limit global press freedom, with an increase in government legal demands targeting journalists, as well as an overall increasing number of legal demands on accounts — both represent record highs since reporting began,” Twitter announced in the July 28 report.

The report said Twitter received nearly 60,000 requests by local, state, and national governments to disclose users’ sensitive data, squelch their posts, or ban their accounts altogether.

The platform said it complied with 69 percent of those requests, but didn’t provide further details.

At the same time, Twitter boasted it had obstructed 29 U.S. civil inquiries for “Account information that sought to unmask the identities of anonymous speakers on First Amendment grounds.”

“Of those 29 requests, we filed lawsuits to fight back in two instances and succeeded in convincing courts to apply First Amendment protections in one case. The other case remains pending,” the update stated.

The United States government accounted for 20 percent of the appeals, closely followed by Russia with 18 percent.

“We’re seeing governments become more aggressive in how they try to use legal tactics to unmask the people using our service, collect information about account owners, and also using legal demands as a way to try and silence people,” said Yoel Roth, head of Twitter’s safety and integrity, said, per AP.

“People who use our service should know we take a principled approach to how we handle government requests and legal demands and how we share information about people who use our service,” Twitter claimed.

Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Rob Mahoney, told Associated Press, “This surge in government demands for content takedowns and information on journalists is part of a global trend of increasing censorship and manipulation of information.”

“Social media platforms are vital for reporters and they must do more to resist government attempts to silence critical voices,” Mahoney added.