Google continues to witness a rise in the number of user complaints after receiving 33,995 complaints in January 2022, according to a transparency report published by the company. It received 31,497 complaints in December 2021 which means that there was an eight percent increase (2,498) in January. The company revealed that these complaints concern third-party content that is believed to violate local laws or personal rights on Google’s significant social media intermediary platforms.
The complaints consist of various categories as is evident in the chart below. Most of the requests revolve around the infringement of intellectual property rights, while others highlight the violation of local laws on grounds such as defamation, Google said in its report.
The month of January follows the trend of the past few months where complaints are concentrated around copyright issues. The report does not include requests made by the government.
The details are part of monthly transparency reports mandated under the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. These reports outline the volume of complaints Google receives in India through its designated complaint channels during a month-long reporting period.
The reports are an indicator of how major social media companies deal with user complaints. They shed light on action taken by the platform to address these complaints.
Google’s removal action continues to see a rise
Google took action against 1,04,285 items based on the complaints received. The company explained that each unique URL in a single complaint is considered an individual item and that is why there is a disparity in the number of complaints received and the consequent removal action.
“A single complaint may specify multiple items that potentially relate to the same or different pieces of content,” the report stated.
The break-up delineating the reasons for removal is as follows:
The company removed 94,171 items in December 2021 which was a 50 percent increase compared to November 2021. The month of January has registered a comparatively modest increase at 11 percent.
The company removed over 48,594 and 61,114 pieces of content in October and November respectively.
How did Google’s Automated Detection fare in January?
The company’s automated systems took down fewer items in January (4,01,374) as compared to December 2021 (4,05, 971). The company did not elaborate on the reasons behind this decrease.
There had been a slight increase in removals through automated detection in December when compared to November (3,75, 468). These processes reportedly target the dissemination of harmful content such as child sexual abuse material and violent extremist content. The company can terminate a user’s access to Google services under these removal actions.
Google uses the following datasets for automated detection —
- Location data of the sender or creator of the content
- Location of account creation
- IP addresses at the time of video upload
- User phone numbers
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