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IT Ministry Says Twitter Takedown Orders Are Proportionate to User Base: Report

The ministry has responded to Twitter's accusations and has highlighted the platform's low compliance rate.

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The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has reportedly claimed in an official review that the Indian government's content removal orders are proportionate to the Indian user base.

According to the official report, obtained by The Economic Times, India's total cumulative legal demands make up seven percent of the global figure, which the ministry claims is proportional to Twitter's Indian user base which comprises seven percent of the global user base.

Earlier this month, Twitter approached the Karnataka High Court, challenging government orders to take down certain content.

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Other Countries Make 'More Demands'

The Ministry's internal report claims that India's 17,338 legal demands since 2012 are in line with the growth of the user base, disputing Twitter's accusations that India makes an unreasonably high number of content removal requests.

The report also claimed that other countries make proportionally more legal demands compared to their share of Twitter's total user base.

Countries like Japan and South Korea were highlighted, which have issued 32 percent and 5 percent, respectively, of all legal demands, compared to their user bases which make up 18 percent and 2 percent of Twitter's total user base respectively.

MeitY also reportedly brought up Twitter's relatively low compliance rate (11 percent) in India, calling it 'abysmal'. For comparison, the US has a compliance rate of 13 percent, and in Japan it is 38 percent.

The ministry said in the report that the government's takedown requests are "necessary to prevent apocalypse" as there has been a rise in malicious and criminal activity on the internet that poses a security threat to both the nation and its citizens.

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Twitter's Case Against Centre

In its petition, Twitter has alleged that the government recently ordered the platform to take down 1,474 accounts, and 175 tweets, of which the platform has directly disputed 39 demands.

Twitter is contending government orders on the basis that:

  • The orders are overbroad and arbitrary

  • The IT ministry didn't provide notice to the content originators

  • Takedown orders are disproportionate in several cases

Cybersecurity firm Comparitech published a research report in 2021 which showed that India had issued 97,631 content removal demands to social media and technology platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube.

The report placed this figure right under Russia, which leads the world in the number of legal demands issued to social media platforms and other websites.

(With inputs from The Economic Times)

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Topics:  Twitter   Karnataka High Court   MeitY 

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