Wikimedia Foundation Transparency Report/December 2016/Requests for Content Alteration & Takedown

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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.

Frederick Douglass as a younger man.jpg "To suppress free speech is a double wrong. It violates the rights of the hearer as well as those of the speaker." - Frederick Douglas, Author and Abolitionist (1860)
JUL – DEC 2016
Total Number of Requests
JUL – DEC 2016
Percentage of Requests Granted


JUL – DEC 2016
Government requests breakdown
United States Politicians, Candidates, & Political Parties 1
Hungary Politicians, Candidates, & Political Parties 1
JUL – DEC 2016
Where did these requests come from?
Country Received Granted
Flag of United States United States 61 0
Flag of Germany Germany 23 0
Flag of France France 16 0
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 14 0
Flag of Brazil Brazil 6 0
Flag of India India 6 0
Flag of Italy Italy 6 0
Flag of Russia Russia 5 0
Flag of Australia Australia 4 0
Flag of Canada Canada 4 0
Flag of Japan Japan 4 0
Flag of Spain Spain 4 0
Flag of Israel Israel 3 0
Flag of Netherlands Netherlands 3 0
Flag of Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 3 0
Flag of Korea Korea 2 0
Flag of Malaysia Malaysia 2 0
Flag of Afghanistan Afghanistan 1 0
Flag of Argentina Argentina 1 0
Flag of Austria Austria 1 0
Flag of Denmark Denmark 1 0
Flag of Egypt Egypt 1 0
Flag of Guatemala Guatemala 1 0
Flag of Hungary Hungary 1 0
Flag of New Zealand New Zealand 1 0
Flag of Norway Norway 1 0
Flag of Pakistan Pakistan 1 0
Flag of Poland Poland 1 0
Flag of Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia 1 0
Flag of Sweden Sweden 1 0
Flag of Turkey Turkey 1 0
Unknown 7 0
JUL – DEC 2016
Which Wikimedia projects were targeted?
Project Received Granted
English Wikipedia 81 0
Wikimedia Commons 21 0
German Wikipedia 17 0
French Wikipedia 12 0
Not a WMF site 7 0
Multiple 6 0
Italian Wikipedia 5 0
Portuguese Wikipedia 5 0
Spanish Wikipedia 5 0
Russian Wikipedia 4 0
Arabic Wikipedia 2 0
Japanese Wikipedia 2 0
Catalan Wikipedia 1 0
Dutch Wikipedia 1 0
English Wiktionary 1 0
Galician Wikipedia 1 0
German Wikibooks 1 0
German Wikivoyage 1 0
Gerrit 1 0
Korean Wikipedia 1 0
Meta-Wiki 1 0
Norwegian Wikipedia 1 0
Persian Wikipedia 1 0
Polish Wikipedia 1 0
Swedish Wikipedia 1 0
Turkish Wikipedia 1 0
Unknown 6 0


Disputed Territory

Globes (214425074).jpg
  • Time Period: October & November 2016
  • Story: The Wikimedia projects exist to provide everyone with free knowledge. Sometimes, people disagree about whether certain information should be available. In October and November, we received two separate emails complaining about the existence of an English Wikipedia article on a historically disputed region. The article adheres to Wikipedia’s rules of neutrality and accuracy, and covers an important historical subject. These emailers are welcome to discuss potential changes on the article talk page. We support the community’s prerogative to present neutral, accurate information about sometimes controversial topics on the projects.

Dial W for Wiki

Phone booth (144842591).jpg
  • Time Period: September 2016
  • Story: Most people contact us by email to ask for changes to project content, but we occasionally get phone calls, too. In September, someone left a lengthy voicemail, sharing a complicated tale about political corruption and violence in small-town North America. It seems that they wanted us to update the English Wikipedia article about a specific city and county to include some of the information in the story. Of course, we don’t update the projects, but if they have reliable and neutral sources, they are welcome to edit the page themselves or contact the volunteer editors.

Trademark Tag

A1 bei Auhof.jpg
  • Time Period: July 2016
  • Story: A major North American transit authority emailed us in July, requesting that we remove their logo from Wikimedia Commons because it was trademarked. We explained that this does not violate trademark law; it is not a commercial use, and there is no chance of confusing viewers. This is an example of nominative fair use, as the image is used to illustrate Wikipedia articles about the authority. However, we offered to forward their concerns to experienced Commons volunteers, who chose to to put a note on the page mentioning that the image is trademarked.