Mar 5, 2019 - Technology

U.S. ranks third among G20 nations in Google censorship requests

While not a perfect barometer for web freedoms, Google's annual transparency report provides one of the oldest and most comprehensive datasets of government requests to censor or take down content.

Data: Google Transparency Report; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: Google Transparency Report; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

A source tell us the trend lines are similar to requests other big web platforms have experienced.

The big picture: Data from 2009 to 2018 show that certain countries are much more aggressive in their asks to take content down.

  • Turkey: During and after the attempted coup in July 2016, requests went up in Turkey, mainly because President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was trying to silence coup planners, according to an industry source.
  • America: Requests by the U.S. government mimic a high use of internet platform technology overall.
  • China: It's likely that Chinese officials don't submit many of these requests, simply because it doesn't want to concede publicly just how much users are accessing banned websites via VPNs, the industry source tells Axios.

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