Requests for content alteration and takedown

0 Requests granted 361 Total requests

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.

The Wikimedia projects make up one of the world's largest repositories of human knowledge. With that much information, someone is bound to get upset by some of the content from time to time. While the vast majority of content disputes are resolved by users themselves, in some extreme cases the Wikimedia Foundation may receive a legal demand to override our users.

The Wikimedia projects are yours, not ours. People just like you from around the world write, upload, edit, and curate all of the content. Therefore, we believe users should decide what belongs on Wikimedia projects whenever legally possible.

Below, you will find more information about the number of requests we receive, where they come from, and how they could impact free knowledge. You can also learn more about how we fight for freedom of speech through our user assistance programs in the FAQ.

This report covers requests we received between January and June, 2020. For historical data, please see our past reports.

Alteration and takedown requests from governments

14 Government requests

Requests for content alteration and takedown

Government requests 14
Other 347

Government requests breakdown

Armenia Politicians, Candidates, and Political Parties 2
Canada Politicians, Candidates, and Political Parties 1
Colombia Politicians, Candidates, and Political Parties 1
France Politicians, Candidates, and Political Parties 1
India Diplomatic Official 1
Italy Politicians, Candidates, and Political Parties 1
Russia Government Agency 1
Sweden Government Agency 1
Switzerland State Agency 1
Turkey Government Agency 4

Requests for content alteration and takedown by project

English Wikipedia 0 108
Commons 0 38
Not a WMF Site 0 23
Multiple Projects 0 19
French Wikipedia 0 18
German Wikipedia 0 18
Japanese Wikipedia 0 13
Spanish Wikipedia 0 12
Italian Wikipedia 0 11
Arabic Wikipedia 0 10
English Wiktionary 0 6
Russian Wikipedia 0 6
Chinese Wikipedia 0 5
Portuguese Wikipedia 0 4
Dutch Wikipedia 0 3
Romanian Wikipedia 0 3
Turkish Wikipedia 0 3
Wikidata 0 3
Armenian Wikipedia 0 1
Czech Wikipedia 0 2
Farsi Wikipedia 0 2
Korean Wikipedia 0 2
Sicilian Wikipedia 0 2
Swedish Wikipedia 0 2
Albanian Wikipedia 0 1
Azerbaijani Wikipedia 0 1
Hungarian Wikipedia 0 1
Japanese Wikinews 0 1
Lithuanian Wikipedia 0 1
Luxembourgish Wikipedia 0 1
Norwegian (Bokmål) Wikipedia 0 1
Polish Wikipedia 0 1
Russian Wikisource 0 1
Slovak Wikipedia 0 1
Tamil Wikipedia 0 1
Ukrainian Wikipedia 0 1
Unknown 0 34

Requests for content alteration and takedown by country

United States 0 51
United Kingdom 0 22
India 0 20
France 0 15
Germany 0 15
Italy 0 15
Japan 0 10
Spain 0 8
Canada 0 6
Turkey 0 6
Australia 0 3
Brazil 0 3
Colombia 0 3
Hungary 0 3
Netherlands 0 3
Romania 0 3
Sweden 0 3
Armenia 0 2
Azerbaijan 0 2
Belgium 0 2
Egypt 0 2
Greece 0 2
Switzerland 0 2
Argentina 0 1
Austria 0 1
Botswana 0 1
Chile 0 1
China 0 1
Czech Republic 0 1
Hong Kong 0 1
Iran 0 1
Ireland 0 1
Israel 0 1
Jordan 0 1
Libya 0 1
Lithuania 0 1
Mexico 0 1
Morocco 0 1
New Zealand 0 1
Nigeria 0 1
Pakistan 0 1
Poland 0 1
Russia 0 1
Saudi Arabia 0 1
Slovakia 0 1
South Africa 0 1
Taiwan 0 1
United Arab Emirates 0 1
Zambia 0 1
Unknown 0 134



Right to Erasure

0 Requests granted 18 Total requests

The Right to Erasure, or Right to be Forgotten, is a right under the laws of various countries that allows individuals to request that certain information relating to them be delisted or removed.

When we receive a Right to Erasure request regarding project content, we first direct the requester to experienced project volunteers, who routinely handle most requests to change content on the projects. Wikimedia projects have guidelines for content about living persons, and the volunteer community can review the guidelines and work with the requester to address their concerns.

When we receive a request relating to a user account, we provide the user information on the community-driven vanishing process. See the account-related requests section below for more detail on these requests.

We believe in a Right to Remember. Everyone should have free access to relevant and neutral information of public concern; delisting and removing such content from the internet harms our collective ability to remember history and understand the world. In October 2016, we filed a petition to intervene in Google’s appeal of a French administrative order that would expand such delistings from the European Union to all global domains. In March 2020, following a ruling by the European Court of Justice limiting the geographic scope of such removals, the French court quashed the order, and the French agency behind it has adjusted its position.

* Please note that this information only reflects requests made directly to us. Wikimedia project pages continue to disappear from search engine results without any notice or request to us. We have a dedicated page where we post notices of delisted project pages that we have received from the search engines who provide such information as part of their own commitments to transparency.

Account related requests

379 Account deletion requests 35 Unblock requests

Many of the requests we receive ask for changes to project content, or request that we provide data about our users. However, some requests pertain to user accounts.

Account deletion

When we receive a request to delete a user’s account, we provide the user information on the community-driven vanishing process. Prior to July 2019, account deletion requests were reported in the “Right to Erasure” section. We are now reporting these requests separately in order to give users additional clarity on the types of requests we receive.

Unblock Requests

On occasion, a user who has been blocked by the community may contact the Foundation to request that we take action to reverse the block. The Foundation supports the community’s ability to issue blocks in order to protect users and the projects, and appeals to us when a user has been blocked for disruptive behavior will not result in reinstatement.

Continue reading →

Stories — Storys

Paid Editing Disclosure

Many people want to be included in a Wikipedia article. Some are even willing to pay for it—but they don’t always like people knowing that they’ve paid. A business owner contacted us and requested that we delete a user page on English Wikipedia where a user listed some paid edits made on the business owner’s….

Read more →

Mystics Were Made

When it comes to such sensitive topics as biographies of living persons, Wikimedia users abide by a strict set of policies to ensure the resulting product is as accurate and respectful as possible. Unfortunately, some biographical subjects are still left unsatisfied, and in May, a European mystic wrote to us to request that an Italian….

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