Twitter has never collaborated with governments as much as since Elon Musk

Under Elon Musk, Twitter has not refused a single takedown or tag request from states and courts. A few months ago, Elon Musk denounced the actions of the former owners, however, too complacent according to him.

The engagements brandis by Elon Musk to make Twitter a politically independent space for freedom of expression definitely seems like empty promises…

Since its takeover by the billionaire in October 2022, the social network has accepted all requests for censorship or state surveillance, as revealed a census entered by Twitter into the Lumen database, analyzed by Rest of the world. A reality that may not please fans of Elon Musk, while the billionaire has long been offended by these state demands, while promising not to do the same.

Twitter fully complied with 83% of requests and granted them all

To get controversial social media posts taken down or identify anonymous accounts, states and courts regularly ask Twitter for help. Of the 971 requests of this type received by the social network between October 27, 2022 and April 26, 2023, the platform did not refuse any. Prior to its takeover, Twitter had already refused to satisfy several requests, including eight in the year before Musk took over.

Since its takeover, Twitter has also fully complied with 808 requests. Incidentally, the rate of “full” compliance with these requests rose from 50% to 83%. Between October 2021 and October 2022, data shows that Twitter only complied in half of the cases.

Paradoxically, Elon Musk is a fervent opponent of the collaboration of the major platforms with the States, when they are content most of the time to respond to the law. “The degree to which different government agencies actually had full access to everything that was happening on Twitter amazed me. I did not realize it, ”launched the entrepreneur last month, after having already denounced the practice in its “Twitter Files”. Elon Musk then claimed that the White House could access users’ private messages, without explaining to its subscribers that this was legal operation, to which all major platforms, including its Twitter, must submit.

Turkey and India, great champions of censorship

Half of the requests received (491 in total according to Numerama’s count) come from Turkey – and 29, or less than 3% of them, come from France. India (50 requests) and more strangely Germany (255), which recently strengthened its action against hateful and extremist content, also appear high in the rankings.

Twitter’s stance contrasts sharply with its previous anti-censorship pledges. In 2014, the social network was thus banned from Türkiye for two weeks for refusing to globally block a publication accusing a former government official of corruption. In July 2022, Twitter even sued the Indian government for ordering restrictions on the visibility of certain tweets. Since then, Twitter has approved more than 100 blocks at Turkey’s request, including those of journalists, foreign political figures and even the poet Rupi Kaur.

The massive layoffs in question?

How to explain this difference between reality and Elon Musk’s promises? Salary cuts at Twitter, which have already decimated the team in charge of moderation, may have had an influence on the ability to process these requests, supposes Rest of the world.

This month, the U.S. Supreme Court also granted a big win to Twitter, Facebook and Google, which cannot be prosecuted by victims of attacks who accused them of having been “accomplices” of the Islamic State group by having relayed its propaganda.

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Source: Numerama by

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