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India Tops List of Countries Looking to Block Tweets of Journalists, News Outlets, Twitter Says

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India made the highest number of legal demands globally to remove content posted by verified journalists and news outlets on Twitter during July-December 2021, the microblogging platform said.

In its latest transparency report, [Twitter](https://gadgets360.com/tags/twitter) said India was only behind the US in seeking Twitter account information, accounting for 19 percent of global information requests. It was among the top five countries to issue content-blocking orders to Twitter during July-December 2021 for all kinds of users.

Twitter said 349 accounts of verified journalists and news outlets located around the world were subject to 326 legal demands to remove content, a 103 percent increase in the number of accounts since the previous period (January-June 2021).

“This spike is largely attributed to legal demands submitted by India (114), Turkey (78), Russia (55), and Pakistan (48),” it said.

India had topped this list for January-June 2021 as well. In that timeframe, India had made 89 of the total 231 such demands the platform received globally.

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Twitter said ‘legal demands’ include a combination of court orders and other formal demands to remove content, from both governmental entities and lawyers representing individuals.

Without giving details, 17 tweets from verified journalists and news outlets globally were withheld during the second half of 2021 as compared to 11 tweets withheld during January-June.

Twitter said it received a legal demand from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights in India to remove content relating to privacy issues involving a minor.

While Twitter did not name anyone, the reference was to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s tweet of August last year when he shared a picture of the parents of a minor Dalit girl who was allegedly raped.

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“The reported tweet published by a high-ranking political figure was withheld in India in compliance with the Indian law,” it said.

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Twitter also received the second highest number of government legal requests for providing account information of users from India, after the US.

“The United States submitted the most government information requests during this reporting period, accounting for 20 percent of the global volume, and 39 percent of the global accounts specified.

“The second highest volume of requests originated from India, comprising 19 percent of global information requests and 27 percent of the global accounts specified,” it said.

Japan, France and Germany were the other three nations in top five countries by volume.

“Twitter received 63 (+3 percent) more routine requests from India, while the number of routine accounts specified increased by 205 (+3 percent) during this reporting period for a total of 2,211 requests for 7,768 accounts,” the report said. Globally, Twitter received 11,460 requests.

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Giving details of legal demands made from India, Twitter said a total of 3,992, or 8 per cent of 47,572 worldwide, requests to remove content from its platform were made during July-December 2021. These included 23 court orders and 3,969 other legal demands. During this period, Twitter withheld 88 accounts and 303 tweets in India.

As per Twitter guidelines, ‘government information requests’ include both emergency and routine legal demands for account information issued by law enforcement and other government agencies.

‘Routine requests’ (aka non-emergency requests) are legal demands issued by government or law enforcement authorities (e.g., subpoenas, court orders, search warrants) that compel Twitter to turn over account information.

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Twitter said it may disclose account information to law enforcement agencies in response to a valid ’emergency request’ if it is provided with sufficient information to support a good faith belief that there is an imminent threat involving danger of death or serious physical injury to a person, and it has information relevant to averting or mitigating the threat.

“97 percent of the total global volume of legal demands originated from only five countries (in decreasing order): Japan, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, and India. These five countries have remained Twitter’s top requesting countries for legal demands over the past three years,” the report said.

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India is the fifth highest requestor, accounting for 8 percent of global legal demands. “Maintaining its position among the top five requesters, the Indian authorities continued to submit a significant number of legal demands this reporting period, which also included a high volume of URLs,” it said.

On ‘preservation requests’, it said global government preservation requests increased by 10 per cent, while accounts specified increased by 19 percent during this reporting period.

The US (34 percent) and India (51 percent) together accounted for 85 percent of all global preservation requests.

‘Preservation requests’ refer to government and law enforcement requests made in accordance with relevant law that require Twitter to maintain the specified account data pending the issuance of a valid legal process to obtain that data.


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WhatsApp Beta Update Adds ‘Picture-in-Picture’ Support During Video Calls for iOS Testers: Report

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WhatsApp has reportedly begun testing the ability to use ‘picture-in-picture’ (PIP) mode during video calls on iOS. The Meta-owned messaging app continues to develop new features for the popular messaging app, and is rolling out a new update for its beta testers on iOS that will add the feature to use other apps and multitask while video calling via WhatsApp, according to a feature tracker. ‘Picture-in-picture’ mode isn’t new to WhatsApp for iOS — it already supports the feature when playing media shared from websites like YouTube and Facebook.

According to a report from WhatsApp feature tracker WABetaInfo, select users part of the TestFlight beta program will receive the feature as part of the update to version 22.24.0.79 on iOS. A screengrab on the website shows the ability to multitask with other apps during an ongoing video call on WhatsApp. The video call window can be temporarily hidden as well. Users who have received the update can check if they have received the feature by trying to use a different app while placing a video call.

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A screenshot of the picture-in-picture mode in action shared by the feature tracker

Photo Credit: WABetaInfo

The report states that the PIP feature is working on iOS 16.1 or above, with previous versions not yet supported despite being compatible with the update. “Note that, even if this feature is compatible with iOS 15 and newer versions of iOS, we have no evidence that it is also enabled for users on iOS 15 at the moment,” WABetaInfo said. The update should soon be available for the wider user base as well.

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The new update to beta version 22.24.0.79 follows a slew of WhatsApp updates on the iOS platform. Most recently, iOS beta testers received a ‘search by date’ feature that let users search specific messages by date within a chat, adding a calendar icon in the search option.

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WhatsApp users also received a ‘Message Yourself’ feature to send themselves reminders and take notes, the ability to include captions when forwarding media, and a voice note feature for status updates.

Probably the biggest feature added recently to the app on both iOS and Android was WhatsApp Polls, which let users create polls in both personal and group chats. The feature is also found on rival messaging services, like Telegram.


Apple launched the iPad Pro (2022) and the iPad (2022) alongside the new Apple TV this week. We discuss the company’s latest products, along with our review of the iPhone 14 Pro on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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New Zealand Plans to Introduce Law to Make Google, Facebook Pay Local Outlets for News

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The New Zealand government said it will introduce a law that will require big online digital companies such as Alphabet’s Google and Meta to pay New Zealand media companies for the local news content that appears on their feeds.

Minister of Broadcasting Willie Jackson said in a statement on Sunday that the legislation will be modelled on similar laws in Australia and Canada and he hoped it would act as an incentive for the digital platforms to reach deals with local news outlets.

“New Zealand news media, particularly small regional and community newspapers, are struggling to remain financially viable as more advertising moves online,” Jackson said. “It is critical that those benefiting from their news content actually pay for it.”

The new legislation will go to a vote in parliament where the governing Labour Party’s majority is expected to pass it.

Australia introduced a law in 2021 that gave the government power to make internet companies negotiate content supply deals with media outlets. A review released by the Australian government last week found it largely worked.

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The law, which took effect in March 2021 after talks with the big tech firms led to a brief shutdown of Facebook news feeds in Australia, may need to be extended to other online platforms, the review said.

Since the News Media Bargaining Code took effect, the tech firms had inked more than 30 deals with media outlets compensating them for the content which generated clicks and advertising dollars, said the Treasury Department report, published last week.

The report mostly recommended that the government consider new methods of assessing the administration and effectiveness of the law, and did not suggest changing the law itself.

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“At least some of these agreements have enabled news businesses to, in particular, employ additional journalists and make other valuable investments to assist their operations,” said the report. “While views on the success or otherwise of the Code will invariably differ, we consider it is reasonable to conclude that the Code has been a success to date.”

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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Apple, Amazon Resume Advertising on Twitter After Elon Musk Takeover: Reports

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Amazon and Apple are planning to resume advertising on Twitter, according to media reports on Saturday. The developments follow an email sent by Twitter on Thursday to advertising agencies offering advertisers incentives to increase their spending on the platform, an effort to jump-start its business after Elon Musk’s takeover prompted many companies to pull back.

Twitter billed the offer as the “biggest advertiser incentive ever on Twitter,” according to the email reviewed by Reuters. US advertisers who book $500,000 (roughly Rs. 4 crore) in incremental spending will qualify to have their spending matched with a “100 percent value add,” up to a $1 million (roughly Rs. 8 crore) cap, the email said.

On Saturday, a Platformer News reporter tweeted that Amazon is planning to resume advertising on Twitter at about $100 million (roughly Rs. 814 crore) a year, pending some security tweaks to the company’s ads platform.

However, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Amazon had never stopped advertising on Twitter.

Separately, during a Twitter Spaces conversation, Musk announced that Apple is the largest advertiser on Twitter and has “fully resumed” advertising on the platform, according to a Bloomberg report.

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Last week, Twitter’s new CEO accused Apple of threatening to block the microblogging service from its app store without saying why in a series of tweets that also said the iPhone maker had stopped advertising on the social media platform. The billionaire CEO of Twitter and Tesla said Apple was pressuring Twitter over content moderation demands.

Musk’s first month as Twitter’s owner has included a slashing of staff including employees who work on content moderation and incidents of spammers impersonating major public companies, which has spooked the advertising industry.

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Many companies from General Mills to luxury automaker Audi of America stopped or paused advertising on Twitter since the acquisition, and Musk said in November that the company had seen a “massive” drop in revenue.

Apple and Twitter did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment on the matter.

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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