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Under Elon Musk, Twitter approved a staggering 83 per cent of government requests to either restrict or block content globally, including in India and Turkey, the media reported.
Since Musk’s takeover in October 2022, the micro-blogging platform received 971 requests from governments (compared to only 338 in the six-month period from October 2021 to April 2022), according to a report in El Pais, a Spanish-language daily newspaper.
“The company fully acceded to 808 of them and partially acceded to 154. In the year prior to Musk taking control, Twitter agreed to 50 per cent of such requests, in line with the compliance rate indicated in the company’s last transparency report (none have been published since October 2022),” the report noted.
Following Musk’s takeover, that figure has risen to 83 per cent, according to data by technology information portal ‘Rest of World’.
When Bloomberg columnist Matthew Yglesias shared the report on Twitter on Monday, with the caption “I’m a free speech absolutist”, an angry Musk reacted: “You’re such a numbskull. Please point out where we had an actual choice and we will reverse it.”
The columnist responded: “Look, I’m not the one who bought Twitter amidst a blaze of proclamations about free speech principles. Obviously you’re within your rights to run your business however you want.”
In April, Musk said that by ‘free speech,’ he simply means that which matches the law.
“I am against censorship that goes far beyond the law. If people want less free speech, they will ask the government to pass laws to that effect. Therefore, going beyond the law is contrary to the will of the people,” Musk posted on Twitter.
The outgoing Twitter CEO last month told the BBC that he would comply with the law of the land in India rather than send his people to jail as the country has “strict social media laws”.
In a Twitter Spaces interview, he was asked about the micro-blogging platform taking down links related to the BBC’s controversial documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“India has very strict social media laws. If it’s a choice between complying with the laws or going to jail, I’d rather comply with laws than have any of my people go to jail,” he said.
“We cannot go beyond the law of the country,” Musk stressed.
Musk claimed that there is less misinformation and hate speech on the micro-blogging platform since he took over.
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