Governments are increasingly aggressive in demanding censorship and disclosure of user data from Twitter

Twitter shared that governments worldwide are asking popular social media companies to remove certain opposition-produced content or request private details such as confidential information, direct messages, user location, and more.

PR agencies, Governments are increasingly aggressive in demanding censorship and disclosure of user data from Twitter

It’s not just only the wrongly called “fact checkers”, often nothing more than PR agencies of powerful interest groups who diligently censor Twitter. According to Twitter CEO Roth, the company is also repeatedly asked by ever more authoritarian governments around the world to delete certain unpopular content and hand over user data.

Twitter shared that governments worldwide are asking popular social media companies to remove certain opposition-produced content or request private details such as confidential information, direct messages, user location, and more.

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According to a report from Twitter, several local, state, and national governments have asked the company to remove nearly 60,000 pieces of content over six months in 2021, the AP reports.

Governments are increasingly aggressive in demanding censorship and disclosure of user data from Twitter. Photo internet reproduction)
Governments are increasingly aggressive in demanding censorship and disclosure of user data from Twitter. Photo internet reproduction)

Twitter CEO Yoel Roth said, “We’re seeing governments become more aggressive in using legal tactics to unmask users of our service, collect information on account owners, and also use legal demands to silence people.”

The company stated that 20% of these demands are made by the U.S., with India following right behind. However, 40% of these demands are made to access users’ confidential information.

Japan has made more than 23,000 requests, half of which are for surrendering user data and the other half for removing content.

Meta has also reported the same phenomenon, with government officials asking for user information and private data details.

Twitter and Meta reported that governments directed most of their requests to obtain user information to well-known journalists and news outlets in 2021.

However, the social network did not disclose which countries requested user data targeting journalists’ accounts in 2021. According to the reports, governments are trying to silence their critics and censor the journalistic work of various news media.

The Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists said, “This rise in demands by governments to delete content and information about 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 defend against governments’ attempts to silence critical voices.”

Twitter has come to attention before for censoring news stories. For example, in 2020, when the company censored a New York Post article about the Ukraine connections of Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept reported on it extensively at the time. It is unclear whether this was an arbitrary decision by the company or whether high-ranking Democrats put corresponding pressure on Twitter.

In the meantime, governments around the world have increased the pressure on Twitter, Facebook, and the like to take action against alleged “false reports” (so-called “fake news”), which has led to countless user blocks.

And this even though, for example, top politicians such as Joe Biden could spread apparent lies about the efficacy and safety of the experimental Covid vaccine uncensored – without facing the consequences like Donald Trump.