'Defamation,' criticism top items PH government wanted Google to remove

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2019 09:35 PM

MANILA - The Philippine government had requested Google to remove items from its various platforms, mostly because of "defamation" and "criticism," the search engine giant said.

Data from Google's "Transparency Report" showed the Philippine government made a total of 25 requests to remove 80 items from June 2012 to December 2017.  

Majority of the requests or 21 of 25 were made by the Executive branch while the rest were made by the judiciary through court orders.

Google said out of the total number of items the government wanted to be removed, 68 were because of "defamation," while seven were because they were "criticisms" against the government. 

Other reasons the Philippine government cited when it made the request for removal were bullying or harassment, drug abuse, impersonation, and obscenity. 

At least 34 of the items the Philippine government wanted removed were on Blogger, while 33 were on YouTube, 12 were on web search, while one was on Google+.

According to Google, 11 of the total requests were granted but it did not specify how many items or which actual items were removed or retained from its platforms. 

"Some requests may not be specific enough for us to know what the government wanted us to remove, and others involve allegations of defamation through informal letters," it said.

Google said it started monitoring requests for removal from different countries around the world in 2009. It said it only monitored reasons cited by the governments in 2010.

According to its data, "defamation" was one of the top reasons cited by governments in their request for removal from 2011 to the second quarter of 2016.

However, Google saw a sharp increase of requests for removal because of "national security" in December 2016, and also because of "regulated goods and services" in June 2018.

"We receive content removal requests through a variety of avenues and from all levels of government — court orders, written requests from national and local government agencies," Google said.

"We always assess the legitimacy and completeness of a government request. In order for us to evaluate a request, it must be in writing, as specific as possible about the content," it added.