When you think about tech companies that get takedown requests, you probably think about those that own content platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. But streaming service providers also get takedown requests from time to time—including Netflix.
And now for the first time ever, the streaming giant has revealed not only the number of takedown requests it has received from governments, but the titles of the movies and TV shows that Netflix took down in response to written demands from governments.
In its 2019 Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Report, Netflix revealed it has only removed nine pieces of content from its service due to government takedown demands. That’s just nine pieces of content in its 23-year history.
Here’s the content Netflix has removed due to government demands:
- The Bridge: In 2015 the New Zealand Film and Video Labeling Body ordered the removal of the film because it is classified as “objectionable” in the country.
- Full Metal Jacket: In 2017 the Vietnamese Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information ordered the removal of the film in the country.
- Night of the Living Dead: In 2017, the German Commission for Youth Protection ordered the removal of the zombie flick because a version of it is banned in the country.
- Cooking on High, The Legend of 420, and Disjointed: In 2018 the Singapore Infocomm Media Development Authority ordered the removal of the three films. The reason for the request is unknown.
- Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj: In 2019 the Saudi Communication and Information Technology Commission ordered the removal of a single episode, “Saudi Arabia,” in the country.
- The Last Temptation of Christ: In 2019, the Singapore Infocomm Media Development Authority ordered the removal of the film, which is banned in the country.
- The Last Hangover: In 2019, the Singapore Infocomm Media Development Authority ordered the removal of the film for unknown reasons.
All tech companies have to wrestle with the thorny issue of censorship when it comes to government takedown orders. And the deciding factor whether the tech company will comply with the request is whether the subject of the takedown request is, in fact, illegal in the country asking its removal. If the content is, the company has no choice but to comply.
Netflix says that beginning next year, the company will report content takedown requests annually.
This post has been updated to better clarify that Netflix removed the content in response to legal written demands from governments, not merely requests.