Twitter received 94 grievances and “actioned” 133 URLs between May 26 and June 25, the microblogging platform said in its maiden monthly compliance report as mandated by the IT rules.
The US-based company, which has been in the eye of a storm over its failure to comply with the new IT rules in India, has also named Vinay Prakash as its resident grievance officer for India to comply with the said rules.
Twitter, in the report titled ‘India Transparency Report: User Grievances and Proactive Monitoring July 2021’, said it had received 94 grievances via its grievance officer-India channel between May 26, 2021, and June 25, 2021, that included content on Twitter.
This includes complaints received from individual users with accompanying court orders.
The majority of complaints received in this channel during the reporting period fell into categories including defamation (20), abuse/harassment (6), sensitive adult content (4), impersonation and privacy infringement (3 each), IP-related Infringement (1), and misinformation/synthetic and manipulated media (1).
The total number of URLs actioned in these categories stood at defamation (87), abuse/harassment (38), sensitive adult content (nil), impersonation (1), privacy infringement (6), IP-related infringement (nil), and misinformation/synthetic and manipulated media (1), as per the report.
“In addition to the above data, we processed 56 grievances which were appealing Twitter account suspensions. These were all resolved and the appropriate responses were sent,” Twitter said.
It added that the platform “overturned seven of the account suspensions based on the specifics of the situation, but the other accounts remain suspended”.
In a separate category — ‘Proactive Monitoring Data’, Twitter said 18,385 accounts were suspended over the issue of child sexual exploitation, non-consensual nudity, and similar content, while 4,179 accounts were suspended for promotion of terrorism.
Twitter, however, said the ‘Proactive Monitoring Data’ represents global actions taken, and not just actions related to content from India.
‘Proactive Monitoring’ refers to content proactively identified by employing internal proprietary tools and industry hash sharing initiatives, it added.
Twitter said each user complaint received via the India grievance channel is assessed under its terms of service (ToS) and rules, and any content that is determined to be in violation is “actioned” in line with its range of enforcement options.
This includes tweet level enforcement (like labeling of tweets, limiting visibility and removal), direct message-level enforcement and Account-level enforcement ( includes permanent suspension) among other actions.
Twitter noted that going forward, it will publish this report on a monthly basis and that it will make improvements over time, based on feedback received from the government, or in accordance with internal changes that allow it to provide more granular data.
Facebook had said it “actioned” over 30 million content pieces across 10 violation categories during May 15-June 15 in the country, while Instagram took action against about two million pieces across nine categories during the same period.
This data was a part of an interim report on July 2 providing information on the number of content Facebook removed proactively during May 15-June 15. The final report will be published on July 15, containing details of user complaints received and action taken.
The July 15 report will also contain data related to WhatsApp, which is part of Facebook’s family of apps.
Google, in its report, had stated that 27,762 complaints were received by Google and YouTube in April this year from individual users in India over alleged violation of local laws or personal rights, which resulted in removal of 59,350 pieces of content.
Koo, in its report, had said it proactively moderated 54,235 content pieces, while 5,502 posts were reported by its users during June.
India is a major market for global digital platforms. As per data cited by the government earlier this year, India has 53 crore WhatsApp users, 41 crore Facebook subscribers and 21 crore Instagram users. Koo, a homegrown rival to Twitter, has over 60 lakh users.
Under the new IT rules, large digital platforms (with over 50 lakh users) are required to publish periodic compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken thereon.
The report has to also include the number of specific communication links or parts of information that the intermediary has removed or disabled access to in pursuance of any proactive monitoring conducted by using automated tools.
Twitter had courted controversy over the new social media rules, and the Indian government had confronted Twitter over deliberate defiance and failure to comply with the IT rules, despite repeated reminders.
Twitter, which has an estimated 1.75 crore users in India, lost its legal shield as an intermediary in India, becoming liable for users posting any unlawful content.
On July 8, Twitter had informed the Delhi High Court that it has appointed an interim chief compliance officer, who is a resident of India, and that it will make an endeavour to fill the regular position within eight weeks as per the IT rules.
The Delhi High Court had granted two weeks’ to Twitter Inc to file an affidavit, notarised in the US, on compliance with the IT rules and had made it clear that it was not extending any protection to the microblogging platform.
The High Court had said the Centre was free to take action against Twitter Inc in case of any breach of the IT Rules.