Google Removal Requests from Government Doubled Since 2nd-Half of 2012

Transparency Report: Google received 2,285 government requests to remove 24,179 pieces of content.

Google has published latest "Transparency Report," revealing that government attempts to censor content on Google services has grown--it has doubled since the second half of 2012 (1,054 requests vs. 2,285).

"From July to December 2012, we received 2,285 government requests to remove 24,179 pieces of content--an increase from the 1,811 requests to remove 18,070 pieces of content that we received during the first half of 2012," Google stated.

Brazil took the gold medal of the censorship olympics, with 697 requests, while the United States took 2nd place, with 321 requests.

Following the new law took that took effect last fall, Russia in the first half of 2012, sent six requests, "we received 114 requests to remove content--107 of them citing this new law," Google said.

In addition, 20 countries had inquired regarding YouTube videos containing clips of the movie "Innocence of Muslims."

Google Transparency Report: More government removal requests than ever before

Google said it made a couple of improvements to the Transparency Report that include:

  • "break down of government requests about YouTube videos revealing whether it removed videos in response to government requests for violating Community Guidelines, or whether the videos restricted from view due to local laws.

    You can see the details by scrolling to the bottom of each country-specific page.

  • A refreshed look of the Traffic section, now making it easier to see where and when disruptions have occurred to Google services now lets you:
  • "You can see a map where our services are currently disrupted
  • you can see a map of all known disruptions since 2009
  • and you can more easily navigate between time periods and regions," informs Google.

You can read more about the transparency report here.

In other news, Google in an agreement with European Commision has agreed to make changes to the way it display search results--"now required to separate promoted links from general search results," according to agreement that Google signed with EU.

Accoriding to EU directions, Google now has to show links in a location that's clearly visible to users of "three rival specialized search providers." And, will also "clearly label search results that link to YouTube, Google Maps and its other sites."

In addition Google will now offer the ability to "opt out" of specialized search results such as news and shopping -- "whilst not affecting their ranking in a general search", including the ability to allow newspaper websites to control, on a page-by-page basis, the parts of their content that shows up in Google News searches.

Additionally, EU directed Google to not include any obligation in its agreements with publishers that they source online search adverts exclusively from Google. As well as, Google will also not restrict advertisers from running a campaign across rival platforms.

The EU has proposed that these changes run for a month whilst it collects public feedback--"whether to make them legally binding for five years," in which case an independent monitor would be appointed to oversee proper implementation.

Update 04/26: Here are the screenshots of how Google search results apge (SERPs) will look following Google-EU settlement. These mockups screens (via) clarifies the settlement terms and how they will be implemented practically.

mockup of google serps with eu settlement - pic 1

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