Google said it did not take down the YouTube video.
NBI sought to block negative ad vs Duterte — Google
Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) tried to block a YouTube video against President Duterte months after he won the 2016 elections, according to technology company Google.

Its transparency report on government requests for content removal revealed that the Philippine government requested the removal of 80 items on various Google platforms since the company began its monitoring in 2009.

Thirty-two of those requests were made during the first two years of the Duterte administration, including 13 in his first six months in office.

Among them was the NBI request to remove a YouTube video of a negative political campaign advertisement against Duterte sometime from July to December 2016.

Google said it did not take down the YouTube video.

During the same period, the NBI also requested the delisting of eight news articles from Google Search.

“The articles reported on an Indian national who was the subject of complaints alleging his involvement in illegal sales of black sand and possible links with al-Qaeda,” the company said. “We did not delist the articles.”

One item was requested by the Duterte government to be removed between January and June 2017, while 18 items were covered by government requests between July and December 2017.

No request was made in the first half of last year, while data for the latter part of 2018 have yet to be released.

In contrast, the administration of former president Benigno Aquino III submitted requests for the removal of 48 items during his six-year term. It first submitted a request in early 2012, almost two years into his presidency.


Based on the breakdown, the Duterte government cited defamation as the reason for its request to take down 28 of the 32 items. Two were for government criticism, one for bullying and the other was classified under “all others.”

Only one of those requests was made by the judiciary, with the rest coming from the executive branch.

Google said it removed only seven out of the 32 items covered by the requests during the present administration. It did not identify these requests.

“There are many reasons we may not have removed content in response to a request,” it said.

“Some requests may not be specific enough for us to know what the government wanted us to remove (for example, no web address is listed in the request) and others involve allegations of defamation through informal letters from government agencies, rather than court orders,” the company added.

User data

In a separate report, Google said it has received requests for data of six users between July 2016 and June 2018.

Some data were produced for two of those users.

“Government agencies, courts and parties in civil litigation regularly ask technology and communications companies to turn over user data,” Google said.

“In this report, we disclose information about the number and type of requests we receive from governments. We publish this information to shine light on the impact that government actions have on our users and the free flow of information online,” it added.

Social media company Facebook earlier said that the Philippine government also requested data of 42 Facebook users in the first half of 2018.   – With Alexis Romero

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