Government Content Removal Requests by Country, Visualized

February 8, 2022

We often hear about countries requesting tech companies remove certain content from their online platforms, especially Russia and China. It can be difficult, though, to discern and compare which types of content is verboten in which nations. Digg paints us a picture in, “The Countries that Ask Google to Remove the Most Content, Visualized.” Reporter Adwait writes:

“The most common reason for taking down content is ‘defamation’ according to a Surfshark analysis, which six out of the top ten leaders cite as a reason. Russia has a sizable lead with the most number of takedown requests, nearly ten-times more than second-placed Turkey. … Google receives thousands of requests every year from all levels of government to remove online content. From infringement of intellectual property rights to defamation, there are a number of reasons a removal request might be submitted. But where in the world asks Google to remove content the most? Historically, Russia is by far the most prolific content removal requester, submitting 123,606 requests in total over the past ten years. Turkey is next up with 14,231 requests which, although the second-highest figure, seems mere in comparison.”

Such a visual aid is a good idea, but it would be even better if it were well executed. Sadly, this illustration features ribbon graphs in muted colors with no numbers. Readers may want to navigate instead to the Surfshark User Data Surveillance Report from which this graphic was made. It includes several informative graphs, all of which contain easily discernable colors and actual numbers. It also includes data on request made of Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple as well as Google. The cybersecurity firm behind the report, Surfshark, was founded in 2018 and is based in Tórtola, Castilla-La Mancha, Spain.

Cynthia Murrell, January 8, 2021


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