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Pakistani authorities removed many Twitter accounts

25 September, 2017

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KARACHI: The number of requests made by Pakistani authorities to Twitter for removal of accounts and information has doubled since last year, according to a bi-annual transparency report of the social networking website.

Between January and June 30, the government asked Twitter to remove 24 accounts, and over 80 accounts were reported, with zero compliance.

According to Nighat Dad from the Digital Rights Foundation, there has been strict monitoring of Twitter and other social networking websites since some bloggers disappeared earlier this year.

“Several people reported that they had received notices from the Federal Investigation Agency...regarding what they had posted on social media,” she said, adding that while monitoring was a reality, Pakistan was following bad examples set by its neighbours as well as countries such as the US, Russia and Turkey.

The report, available on the website, is aimed at highlighting trends in legal requests received by Twitter, intellectual property-related requests and email privacy practices. It provides an insight into whether or not the website took any action on the requests made.

According to the report, removal requests include worldwide legal requests Twitter received from governments and authorised reporters seeking removal of or withholding content.

It claimed that from January to June this year, India had two account removal requests from the court [Pakistan had none] and more than 100 from the government.

Last year, India had one court-ordered account removal request, 96 by the government and agencies while 295 accounts were reported. Pakistan had zero court requests, 13 account removal requests made by the government and agencies while only 19 accounts were reported.

The highest number of court-ordered removals this year came from Turkey (715) while requests to remove accounts from the government stood at 1,995, followed by Russia (1,213) and France (1,038).

The highest number of accounts was reported from Turkey at 9,289, followed by Russia (1,225) and France (1,177).

Turkey also had the highest number of accounts withheld at 204, followed by Russia at 87, while Pakistan and India had none. Russia took the lead in tweets withheld at 566, followed by Turkey at 497.

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