Both search engines and social media have seen a surge in content removal since 2016. Google’s content removal has led to people seeking help on Twitter.
But what makes up for most of this content removal? Surfshark published a report giving us a view into the kind of content that’s most likely to be struck down.
Champions of Google Content Removal
According to the Surfshark analysis, defamation is the biggest reason for Google content removal requests in 2020.
While it is globally the biggest reason, it is is still not as popular. Russia tops the list of countries that asked Google to remove content. In 2020 alone, Russia made over 31,000 removal requests, with 18% of them being national security.
However, defamation, the world’s most popular reason for a content takedown, makes only a measly 0.62% of Russia’s complaints. In other words, Russia’s content removal trend is completely different from the rest of the world.
South Korea (2,397 requests) and India (1,880 requests) secure second and third positions for most content removal requests. However, the two are not even remotely close to Russia’s numbers.
Russia’s strong-armed political scene makes up for the country occupying the top spot on this list. However, the top 5 countries to request Google content removal include South Korea, India, Turkey, and Brazil too.
46% of South Korea’s requests are for privacy and security reasons. Coming to India, defamation accounts for almost 29% of requests, followed by national security, and privacy, with 14% each.
Almost all of these removal requests are for YouTube and Google web search, both of which are Google services.
Defamation also tops in Turkey with over 57% share of removal requests, and in Brazil with over 39% removals.
It is a surprising narrative as national security and patriotic sentiments have been widely spotted on social media in the last couple of years. Some Indian companies even banked on anti-China sentiments to get popular acceptance.
However, Surfshark analysis puts defamation as the top reason for Google’s content removal. This means most of these requests are coming from the preservation of self rather than national interest.
We could use a deeper and more comprehensive analysis to draw more specific conclusions. But for now, it seems that content removal requests are more personal in nature than we thought.