Twitter Sees Record Number Of Government Demands To Censor Content

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Kyle Schmidbauer Associate Editor
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Twitter received a record number of requests from international governments to censor content between January and June 2021, according to a Tuesday report from the company.

Released semiannually, Twitter’s Transparency Report found that governments made 43,387 legal demands to remove content from 196,878 accounts. This is the largest volume of such requests Twitter has ever received in a six-month period since the inception of the Transparency Report in 2012, according to the website.

Twitter either withheld access to the content or required users to remove it in 54% of cases in which such requests were made, according to the report.

Japan, Russia, Turkey, India and South Korea constituted 95% of all legal requests for removal. In May 2021, after the platform was used to amplify anti-Kremlin protestors, the Russian government reportedly demanded the removal of anti-government content from Twitter under threat of fines or total censorship of the website, according to the New York Times.

“We’re facing unprecedented challenges as governments around the world increasingly attempt to intervene and remove content,” Vice President of Global Public Policy and Philanthropy Sinead McSweeney said, according to Reuters. “This threat to privacy and freedom of expression is a deeply worrying trend that requires our full attention.” RELATED: Republicans Warn Of ‘Censorship’ From ‘Radical’ New Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal

“As the Open Internet continues to be under threat around the world, we will continue our advocacy and build on our work to increase meaningful transparency and accountability in the industry,” the report concluded.