I’m sure we’d all like to think Google is the wild, wild west of information that runs free without censorship. It surely seems that way since doing any simple search will almost certainly yield a wide range of opinions on the topic. We all know how important it is to do our due diligence to find the truth instead of just believing the first thing we read. However, we aren’t given all of the information that’s posted on the web. There is some Google censorship going on.
You may wonder why there would be any Google censorship. After all, it doesn’t really make sense, right? There have been times in the past when Google has ratcheted their censorship policy up or down ‘as needed.’ However, what I’m referring to today is a little different. In this case, it’s not Google who tries to censor the information. Instead, it’s the government of different countries that requests Google to remove certain pieces of information.
Google provides information on all these censorship requests to anyone who wants to view it on the global Google Transparency Report. Designer Sebastian Sadowski, in collaboration with Source Google and World Bank, took Google’s Transparency report and visualized it into an interactive graphic. By using this tool, anyone can see at a glance what Google is being requested to censor. You can view it in its entirety here at What Does The World Ask Google To Censor?.
There are a few relevant things to keep in mind when interpreting that chart. First of all, when you see a timeframe listed as “2012-06” for example, that means that piece of data is for the first six months of 2012. Next, it’s important to keep in mind that the things on this interactive chart only indicate the requests that have been made to Google. It does not show the requests that Google has actually granted, if that makes sense. Either way, it’s an interesting look at Google censorship and what some people don’t want us to see.
Google Censorship: What Does The World Ask Google To Censor?