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Wikimedia Foundation Transparency Report/June 2017/Requests for Content Alteration & Takedown

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Privacy-related WMF Policies

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.

"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers." - Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 19
JAN – JUN 2017
Total Number of Requests
JAN – JUN 2017
Percentage of Requests Granted


JAN – JUN 2017
Government requests breakdown
New Zealand National museum 1
Spain Politicians, Candidates, & Political Parties 1
Turkey Government agency 1
United Kingdom Politicians, Candidates, & Political Parties 1
JAN – JUN 2017
Where did these requests come from?
Country Received Granted
Flag of United States United States 73 0
Flag of France France 34 0
Flag of Germany Germany 34 0
Flag of United Kingdom United Kingdom 25 0
Flag of Russia Russia 15 0
Flag of India India 14 0
Flag of Canada Canada 9 0
Flag of Spain Spain 9 0
Flag of Japan Japan 7 0
Flag of Turkey Turkey 7 0
Flag of Italy Italy 6 0
Flag of Spain Netherlands 5 0
Flag of Argentina Argentina 4 0
Flag of Australia Australia 4 0
Flag of Brazil Brazil 4 0
Flag of Norway Norway 4 0
Flag of Korea Korea 3 0
Flag of China China 2 0
Flag of Czech Republic Czech Republic 2 0
Flag of Hungary Hungary 2 0
Flag of Macedonia Macedonia 2 0
Flag of Mexico Mexico 2 0
Flag of Azerbaijan Azerbaijan 1 0
Flag of Bangladesh Bangladesh 1 0
Flag of Colombia Colombia 1 0
Flag of Costa Rica Costa Rica 1 0
Flag of Croatia Croatia 1 0
Flag of Denmark Denmark 1 0
Flag of Egypt Egypt 1 0
Flag of Honduras Honduras 1 0
Flag of Lebanon Lebanon 1 0
Flag of Lithuania Lithuania 1 0
Flag of New Zealand New Zealand 1 0
Flag of Nigeria Nigeria 1 0
Flag of Serbia Serbia 1 0
Flag of South Africa South Africa 1 0
Flag of Sri Lanka Sri Lanka 1 0
Flag of Switzerland Switzerland 1 0
Flag of Taiwan Taiwan 1 0
Flag of Thailand Thailand 1 0
Flag of Ukraine Ukraine 1 0
Flag of Uruguay Uruguay 1 0
Unknown 7 0
JAN – JUN 2017
Which Wikimedia projects were targeted?
Project Received Granted
English Wikipedia 120 0
French Wikipedia 33 0
Wikimedia Commons 28 0
German Wikipedia 20 0
Not a WMF site 16 0
Russian Wikipedia 15 0
Multiple 14 0
Spanish Wikipedia 10 0
Portuguese Wikipedia 6 0
Dutch Wikipedia 5 0
Turkish Wikipedia 5 0
Italian Wikipedia 4 0
Japanese Wikipedia 4 0
Korean Wikipedia 3 0
Norwegian Wikipedia 3 0
Arabic Wikipedia 2 0
Chinese Wikipedia 2 0
English Wiktionary 2 0
Foundation Wiki 2 0
Hungarian Wikipedia 2 0
Azerbaijani Wikipedia 1 0
Czech Wikipedia 1 0
German Wikivoyage 1 0
Lithuanian Wikipedia 1 0
Malayalam Wikipedia 1 0
Persian Wikipedia 1 0
Polish Wikipedia 1 0
Romanian Wikipedia 1 0
Serbo Croatian Wikipedia 1 0
Thai Wikipedia 1 0
Ukrainian Wikipedia 1 0
Wikidata 1 0
Unknown 33 0


Unreliable Source[edit]

  • Time Period: May 2017
  • Story: People who contact the Wikimedia Foundation or experienced project volunteers to request changes to the Wikimedia projects are encouraged to provide evidence or cite reliable sources to support their views. In one recent case, a European performer asked that their birth date be changed in an article on French Wikipedia. However, there were two problems with the identification they provided as evidence: it was a primary and not a secondary source, and it appeared to be fake. In a later email, the requester indicated that it was actually a movie or television prop. The original information and sources remain in the article.

Jury Trial[edit]

  • Time Period: February and March 2017
  • Story: We received two requests from lawyers representing clients awaiting trial, asking that we remove information from English Wikipedia that could allegedly impact the outcome of the cases. We explained that the user community would be unlikely to remove well-sourced information, but that they could discuss their concerns with experienced volunteers. Jury integrity is a serious issue, and countries balance the rights of the accused and the free expression rights of the public differently. We believe that the public’s right to access accurate information need not be so restricted. If a court is concerned about information available to jurors, a better remedy is careful instruction or sequestration.

For Official Use[edit]

  • Time Period: May 2017
  • Story: A photographer contacted us about removing from Wikimedia Commons a photograph of Donald Trump. They claimed the photograph was licensed only for the presidential transition team and U.S. government to use. However, the photo has been adopted by the White House for several official uses, and the whitehouse.gov copyright policy places the photo under a Creative Commons license. Due to the confusion about the copyright status of the photograph, experienced Commons volunteers decided to remove the image for now. We encourage governments everywhere to make official portraits and documents freely available to the public, and to be clear about their licensing policies.