Government requests to remove content FAQs
What is a content removal request?
Is this data comprehensive?
Do your statistics cover all categories of content removals?
How many of these requests resulted in the removal of content?
How is removal different from blocking services?
Do you ever remove content that violates local law without a court order or government request?
Why haven't you complied with all of the content removal requests?
There are many reasons we may not have removed content in response to a request. Some requests may not be specific enough for us to know what the government wanted us to remove (for example, no URL is listed in the request), and others involve allegations of defamation through informal letters from government agencies, rather than court orders. We generally rely on courts to decide if a statement is defamatory according to local law.
From time to time, we receive falsified court orders. We do examine the legitimacy of the documents that we receive, and if we determine that a court order is false, we will not comply with it. Here are some examples of fake court orders that we have received:
- We received a fake Canadian court order that demanded the removal of search results that link to three pages of the site forums.somethingawful.com. The fake order claimed that the site contained defamatory statements, but did not cite the law that was supposedly broken.
- We received a fake American court order that demanded the removal of a blog because it supposedly violated the copyrights of an individual by using her name in various blog posts.
- We received four fake Indian court orders [1, 2, 3, 4] that demanded the removal of blog posts and entire blogs for alleged defamation. The orders threatened to punish Google for failure to comply.
- We received four fake Peruvian court orders [1, 2, 3, 4] that demanded the removal of blog posts and entire blogs for alleged defamation. Two of the orders claimed to be issued from New York.
- We received five fake German court orders [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] that demanded removal of search results that were allegedly defamatory. These orders were created by private individuals pretending they were from different courts in Germany.
Are the observations that you make about the data comprehensive and do they all relate to the same topics?
Why do there appear to be significantly more requests being made for reasons categorized as "Other" during the July–December 2010 reporting period?
Why is the compliance rate for government agency and law enforcement requests so much higher than those for court orders in many countries?
Why do numbers of items requested to be removed from AdWords appear high until the beginning of 2012?
When we receive removal requests for AdWords, the requests typically only cite the URLs that allegedly violate the law or our policies. One URL can pertain to hundreds or thousands of ads. If we decide to remove ads in response to a request, we will look into the total number of ads that the request may affect.
Until the beginning of 2012, we counted the total number of ads removed (rather than the number of URLs or ads cited in the removal request). When we did not perform any removals in response to the request, we counted the number of URLs requested to be removed, so the number of items was lower.