Twitter said in its 20th Transparency Report that since the company prepared the report, various governments have approached the company 47,572 times to remove content from 1,98,931 accounts.
Most of the requests were made by the US government and its agencies. These requests represented 20% of these requests worldwide. India was in second position and its demand represented 19% of the total demand. The company said its past ten years of experience indicate that the tendency for governments to impose restrictions on the expression of ideas has steadily increased.
Governments pay particular attention to journalists’ tweets. From July to December 2021, India recorded the highest number of requests to remove posted information/content. During the same period, India was among the top five countries to order a ban on all types of Twitter users. Meanwhile, India raised 114 legal objections, Turkey 78, Russia 55 and Pakistan 48. Tweets from certified journalists and media organizations were also stopped.
Trends in the use of social media platforms are quite complex. The Internet has become a reservoir of information and knowledge. Determining the accuracy of sources of information and knowledge is a difficult task.
The information provided by Twitter calls for several types of analysis. Twitter is most widely used in the United States, where it has over 76 million users; Japan is second and India is third. More than 5.8 million people in Japan and 2.3 million people in India use Twitter.
It is important to see whether journalists and media organizations are presenting the truth to people by giving correct information about events or whether the information is distorted and misrepresented. Currently, many media houses are owned by corporations. These institutions refrain from putting facts and truth before people. In these times, the number of journalists revealing the truth and correct information through social media, newspapers and TV channels is also decreasing.
While social media has brought about a democratic shift in the expression of ideas on the internet that everyone has the right to express their opinion, there is also a tendency to post irresponsible and inflammatory content, and sometimes misinformation. Social media platforms, democratic organizations, journalists, thinkers, social activists and others must work together to maintain a balance in the trend.
(Retired Director, Malout, Punjab)