Governments ramp up demands for user info, Twitter warns

Jul 28, 2022, 12:38 PM | Updated: 1:07 pm
FILE - The Twitter application is seen on a digital device, April 25, 2022, in San Diego. Twitter w...

FILE - The Twitter application is seen on a digital device, April 25, 2022, in San Diego. Twitter warned Thursday, July 28, that governments around the globe are asking the company to remove content or snoop on private details of user accounts at an alarming rate. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Twitter warned Thursday that governments around the globe are asking the company to remove content or snoop on private details of user accounts at an alarming rate.

The social media company revealed in a new report that it fielded a record number of legal demands — nearly 60,000 during a six-month period last year — from local, state or national governments that wanted Twitter to remove content from accounts or reveal confidential information such as direct messages or user locations.

“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,” Yoel Roth, the head of Twitter’s safety and integrity, said in a conversation broadcast on the site Thursday.

The U.S. makes up the majority of demands for account information, accounting for 20% of the requests. India follows closely behind. Twitter says it complied fully with roughly 40% of all asks for information on user accounts.

Japan, which is also a frequent requestor for account information, makes the most requests of Twitter to take down content from accounts. Japan made more than 23,000 requests — half of all requests — for content to be removed. Russia followed closely behind on its takedown asks.

Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, also reported an increase in government asks for private user data during the same timeframe.

Twitter also reported a huge spike in requests from governments that targeted verified journalists and news outlets during the last half of 2021.

Governments also made a record number of legal demands on 349 accounts of verified journalists or news outlets around the globe between July and December of last year — a 103% increase.

Twitter did not provide a breakdown of which countries made those requests on journalists’ accounts or how many of the asks they complied with.

Governments are using the social media companies to silence critics and censor journalists, Rob Mahoney, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press.

“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,” Mahoney said. “Social media platforms are vital for reporters and they must do more to resist government attempts to silence critical voices.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos talks to reporters March 16, 2022, in Madison, Wis. Vos...
Associated Press

Wisconsin Assembly leader Vos beats Trump-backed challenger

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s most powerful Republican narrowly survived being targeted by Donald Trump in Tuesday’s primary, then said his win proved that lawmakers “don’t have to be a lapdog to whatever Donald Trump says.” Robin Vos, the longest-serving speaker in the state’s history, overcame intense criticism from Trump and others that he hadn’t […]
22 hours ago
FILE - In this photo provided by China's Xinhua News Agency, a People's Liberation Army member look...
Associated Press

China reaffirms threat of military force to annex Taiwan

BEIJING (AP) — China on Wednesday reaffirmed its threat to use military force to bring self-governing Taiwan under its control, amid threatening Chinese military exercises that have raised tensions between the sides to their highest level in years. The statement issued by the Cabinet’s Taiwan Affairs Office and its news department followed almost a week […]
22 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden shakes hands with veteran John Caruso as Biden tour's the Fort Worth VA ...
Associated Press

Veterans health bill marks a personal victory for Biden

WASHINGTON (AP) — As President Joe Biden rattled off policy proposals in this year’s State of the Union address, he hit an emotional note when talking about veterans who suffer from cancer after serving on military bases where toxic smoke billowed from burning trash. “One of those soldiers was my son Maj. Beau Biden,” he […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Niklas Hoehne, from left, New Climate Institute Cologne, Luisa Neubauer, Fridays for Future ...
Associated Press

‘We’re back, baby’: New bill boosts US climate credibility

WASHINGTON (AP) — After a moment when hopes dimmed that the United States could become an international leader on climate change, legislation that Congress is poised to approve could rejuvenate the country’s reputation and bolster its efforts to push other nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more quickly. The head-snapping turn of events, which has […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Firefighters work the scene of a helicopter crash where former NBA basketball star Kobe Brya...
Associated Press

Kobe Bryant crash photos lawsuit to be heard by LA jury

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kobe Bryant was one of the most photogenic sports figures in Los Angeles and images of him seen by millions around the world — smiling in victory, grimacing in agony — keep his memory alive. But some photos of him should never be seen, his widow says, and she’s seeking unspecified […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: August 10, Ruth Bader Ginsburg sworn in

Today in History Today is Wednesday, Aug. 10, the 222nd day of 2022. There are 143 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Aug. 10, 1945, a day after the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Imperial Japan conveyed its willingness to surrender provided the status of Emperor Hirohito remained unchanged. (The Allies responded […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

Why your student-athlete’s physical should be conducted by a sports medicine specialist

Dr. Anastasi from Mayo Clinic Orthopedics and Sports Medicine in Tempe answers some of the most common questions.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Governments ramp up demands for user info, Twitter warns