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Topic: #transparency-reports

How Wikimedia Deals with Content Takedown Requests


The Wikimedia Project, which acts as the legal interface to Wikipedia, receives a few hundred requests each year to alter or delete the contents of Wikipedia pages. They have just released their eighth semi-annual transparency report. It's interesting to see how they deal with such requests.

They investigate the requests that claim that copyright has been violated. Between July and December 2017, there were twelve of these. Two turned out to be genuine, and Wikipedia removed the copyrighted material. The rest were either mistaken claims or instances of fair use.

They got one request to remove a page that cited the 2014 decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union establishing that European citizens have a “right be be forgotten,” based on the EU's principles of personal privacy. The Wikimedia Project did not grant this request, but doesn't give any of the details of the case, noting only that requests of this type “negatively impact the free exchange of information in the public interest.”

Finally, they received 343 other requests to alter or delete content. They didn't grant any of these. Instead, they replied to the requesters by noting that Wikipedia is a wiki so that anyone can alter or delete content:

Our first action is to refer requesters to experienced volunteers who can explain project policies and provide them with assistance.

“Wikimedia Releases Eighth Transparency Report”
Jim Buatti, Leighanna Mixter, and Aeryn Palmer, Wikimedia Blog, March 6, 2018

“Wikimedia's Transparency Report: Guys, We're a Wiki, Don't Demand We Take Stuff Down”
Mike Masnick, Techdirt, March 9, 2018

#Wikipedia #transparency-reports #censorship

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John David Stone (

created June 1, 2014 · last revised December 10, 2018