Wikimedia Foundation Transparency Report/June 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.


You can hide memories, but you can’t erase the history that produced them.

— Haruki Murakami, Author,  (2013)
JAN – JUN 2016
Total Number of Requests
JAN – JUN 2016
Percentage of Requests Granted


JAN – JUN 2016
Government requests breakdown
Canada Politicians, Candidates, & Political Parties 1
India Consulate or embassy 1
Military 1
Georgia Politicians, candidates & political parties 1
Turkey Government agency 1
United Kingdom Local government 1
Politicians, candidates & political parties 1
United States Politicians, candidates & political parties 1


JAN – JUN 2016
Where did these requests come from?
Country Received Granted
Flag of United States United States 71 0
Flag of Germany Germany 22 0
Flag of France France 18 0
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 15 0
Flag of India India 9 0
Flag of Italy Italy 8 0
Flag of Russia Russia 6 0
Flag of Austria Austria 5 0
Flag of Canada Canada 4 0
Flag of Hungary Hungary 3 0
Flag of Japan Japan 3 0
Flag of Turkey Turkey 3 0
Flag of Brazil Brazil 2 0
Flag of Greece Greece 2 0
Flag of Netherlands Netherlands 2 0
Flag of Portugal Portugal 2 0
Flag of Spain Spain 2 0
Flag of Switzerland Switzerland 2 0
Flag of Venezuela Venezuela 2 0
Flag of Australia Australia 1 0
Flag of Liechtenstein Liechtenstein 1 0
Flag of Bulgaria Bulgaria 1 0
Flag of China China 1 0
Flag of Croatia Croatia 1 0
Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic 1 0
Flag of Dominican Republic Dominican Republic 1 0
Flag of Ecuador Ecuador 1 0
Flag of Egypt Egypt 1 0
Flag of Estonia Estonia 1 0
Flag of Finland Finland 1 0
Flag of Georgia Georgia 1 0
Flag of Malta Malta 1 0
Flag of Mexico Mexico 1 0
Flag of Morocco Morocco 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 Romania Romania 1 0
Flag of Slovenia Slovenia 1 0
Flag of Republic of Korea Republic of Korea 1 0
Flag of Sweden Sweden 1 0
Flag of Taiwan Taiwan 1 0
Unknown 39 0
JAN – JUN 2016
Which Wikimedia projects were targeted?
Project Received Granted
English Wikipedia 101 0
No Project Named 20 0
German Wikipedia 17 0
French Wikipedia 16 0
Wikimedia Commons 16 0
Not a WMF site 15 0
Spanish Wikipedia 8 0
Italian Wikipedia 5 0
Multiple 5 0
Portuguese Wikipedia 5 0
Russian Wikipedia 5 0
Japanese Wikipedia 3 0
Turkish Wikipedia 3 0
Chinese Wikipedia 2 0
Dutch Wikipedia 2 0
Hungarian Wikipedia 2 0
Wikidata 2 0
Arabic Wikipedia 1 0
Croatian Wikipedia 1 0
English Wikibooks 1 0
English Wikiversity 1 0
English Wiktionary 1 0
Estonian Wikipedia 1 0
Foundation Wiki 1 0
French Wikinews 1 0
Galician Wikipedia 1 0
Greek Wikipedia 1 0
Gujarati Wikipedia 1 0
Korean Wikinews 1 0
Labs 1 0
Mailing Lists 1 0
Norwegian Wikipedia 1 0
Swedish Wikipedia 1 0


By Any Other Name

Zanni mask.jpg
  • Time Period: April 2016
  • Story: Sometimes, public figures are upset that Wikipedia articles contain the most basic information: for example, their name. An author with a pen name; a famous comedian who performs pseudonymously; and a musical group that uses stage names—all contacted us earlier this year to have their names removed from Wikipedia articles. Decisions about what well-sourced information should be on the projects belong to the Wikimedia communities. We directed them to the editors of Galician, English, and French Wikipedia, who can evaluate the sources provided for these names and determine whether or not to remove them.

Dictating Content

  • Time Period: April 2016
  • Story: We occasionally receive requests from governments to remove content that those governments may find offensive—even content that is perfectly legal elsewhere. In April, we received an email from the Information and Communication Technologies Authority of the Turkish government, claiming that the Turkish Wikipedia article on Müşfik diktatörlük (benevolent dictatorship) violated Turkish law. We rejected the request, and offered to pass the message on to Turkish Wikipedia volunteers. The projects belong to the contributors, readers, and other members of the Wikimedia communities, and we believe that where possible they should decide what content belongs on the projects.

Happy Hour

Whisky (4285804207).jpg
  • Time Period: June 2016
  • Story: Occasionally, businesses will claim that Wikipedia articles about their products are unlawful—or, in this case, “illicit”. This happened in June, when an alcoholic beverage organization emailed us, arguing that an international treaty restricted English Wikipedia editors from referring to the organization’s region-specific alcoholic beverage by a generic name. We rejected the request and informed the organization that neither trademark law nor international treaties prevent Wikimedia communities from discussing that product or similar products. We also informed them that they were welcome to work with the volunteers to discuss the proper labeling of their favored drink.