India Made 19,600 Takedown Requests To Google In The Last 10 Years: Report

India has been on a content removal spree, sending requests involving 1.155 lakh pieces of content to Google, making it the world’s third most prolific requestor for taking down content. This includes requests to platforms like YouTube, Google’s web browser, and others, as per a Surfshark study.

What to know? From 2013 to 2022, Indian government agencies have nudged Google over 19,600 times to remove content, often citing ‘defamation’ as the key reason. This trend is part of a larger global pattern where governments are increasingly using content removal requests as a tool for information censorship.

In a decade, these requests globally have skyrocketed nearly 13 times, jumping from 7,000 to a staggering 91,000 annually. The year 2022 marked a record with a 50% hike in such requests.

National security is often the go-to reason for governments globally, but the Surfshark report also points out a spike in these requests during international conflicts and wars, raising concerns about the thin line between public safety and censorship.

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YouTube takedowns rank highest: YouTube has been the prime target for the Indian government, with most requests focused on this platform, followed by Google Play Apps and Web Search. On average, the Indian government made five requests per day over the past ten years, mainly for defamation, impersonation, and privacy/security concerns.

The top entities in India pushing for content removal include the police, court orders aimed at Google, and the information and communications authority. This surge in content removal requests sheds light on a growing trend of digital censorship, raising important questions about freedom of information in the digital age.

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Posted In: Google