Twitter said that governments around the world are asking the popular social media company to either remove certain content produced by the opposition or inquire about private details such as confidential information, direct messages, users’ location, and more. According to a report by Twitter, several local, state, and national governments urged the company to remove almost 60,000 contents during the six-month period in 2021.
Twitter head Yoel Roth said to AP, “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.” The company said that 20% of these demands are made by the U.S. and India follows right after that. Although, 40% of these demands are made to gain access to the users’ confidential information. Japan has made more than 23,000 requests and half of them are asking for user information and another half for content removal.
Meta has also reported the same phenomenon where government officials asked for details on user information and private data. Twitter and Meta reported that governments placed most of their requests to obtain user information in 2021 targeting well-known journalists and news outlets.
However, the social networking site did not reveal which countries were requesting user data in 2021 targeting journalists’ accounts. According to the reports, governments are trying to silence their criticism and censor the journalistic work of various newsoutlets. The executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists said, “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.”