Google publishes report under new IT rules, removes 59K pieces of content




Google India has published its first transparency report under the new IT rules which includes details of complaints received from users in the country the action taken across Google’s platforms that are classified as “significant social media intermediaries (SSMIs)” under the rules.


The report currently covers complaints received actioned between April 1 April 30 this year. Google said there will be a two-month lag on reporting in a bid to allow sufficient time for data processing validation.





The report is significant because Google is the first technology company, which qualifies as an SSMI, to have published the report under the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. Other countries for which Google provides granular information on action taken on specific kinds of content are Turkey South Korea.


The number of complaints received by Google in the period under consideration was 27,762 — of which 96.2 per cent related to copyright issues, 1.3 per cent were related to trademark, 1 per cent to defamation, 0.4 per cent to counterfeit issues, 0.4 per cent concerned with circumvention.


The number of removal action taken by Google based on these complaints were 59,350.


The IT rules, notified on February 25, ask SSMIs, or those with over 5 million users, to “publish periodic compliance report every month mentioning the details of complaints received action taken thereon, the number of specific communication links or parts of information that the intermediary has removed or disabled access to in pursuance of any proactive monitoring conducted by using automated tools or any other relevant information as may be specified”.


According to Google, each unique URL in a specific complaint is considered an individual “item”. A single complaint may specify multiple items that potentially relate to the same or different pieces of content. “When we receive complaints from individual users regarding allegedly unlawful or harmful content, we review the complaint to determine if the content violates our community guidelines or content policies, or meets local legal requirements for removal,” Google said in the report.


Under the new rules, Google, Twitter, Facebook, Indian players like ShareChat, Koo, Chingari will have to publish a compliance report on a monthly basis.


Copyright issues include requests related to alleged copyright infringement, received under notice takedown laws, such as the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Trademark requests relate to claims of infringement misuse of trademarks.


Defamation requests are related to harm to reputation, while counterfeit requests are related to the sale or promotion for the sale of counterfeit goods. Complaints under circumvention concern content with tools to bypass copyright technological protection measures.


In future reports, the data on removals as a result of automated detection, as well as the data relating to impersonation graphic sexual content complaints received after May 25, 2021, will be included, according to the technology giant.


“We have a long history of providing transparency into different types of requests we receive from around the world, how we respond. All of these requests are tracked included in our existing Transparency Report since 2010. This is the first time we will publish a monthly transparency report in accordance with the new IT rules, will continue to publish more details as we refine our reporting processes for India,” said a Google spokesperson.


Facebook has said it will publish an interim report for May 15-June 15 on July 2, a final one by July 15.

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