The WordPress.com Transparency Report

WordPress.com is proud to release our first-ever transparency report. Get schooled on the number of information requests, takedown demands, and national security requests we’ve received.

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Automattic’s mission is to democratize publishing, and a fully informed citizenry is the foundation of any functioning democracy. Keeping our users and the public fully informed about our policies on responding to government requests has always been important to us — and now, more than ever, candor in this area is vitally important.

In keeping with these principles, we’re pleased to release our first transparency report. This initial report summarizes the number of government information requests, takedown demands, and national security requests that we received during the second half of 2013. In addition to giving our users full transparency about the volume of these requests, we also hope that publicly reporting our data will help hold all parties (including us) accountable.

A few highlights of our report:

Information Requests. For the second half of 2013, approximately 0.0001% of the 48 million sites that we host were subject to a government information request. Our policy is to notify you of any information request we receive regarding your account, so that you may challenge the request. The only exception is if we are prohibited by law (not just asked nicely by the police) from making such a notification. We also carefully review all legal requests we receive and actively push back on those that are procedurally deficient, overly-broad, or otherwise improper (i.e., those that target non-criminal free speech). In other words, we’ve got your back.

Takedown Demands. Just as importantly, our transparency report includes takedown requests we received from governments around the world. Governments sometimes seek to remove WordPress.com posts that they deem to be prohibited by local laws, such as posts that they judge as defamatory or those that discuss illegal subject matter. We aim to promote freedom of expression around the world, and are also mindful of local laws that might impact that expression. When we receive an order to remove content, we may remove it in only those jurisdictions where it violates local law.

National Security. We’re reporting the maximum amount of information allowed by law about the number and types of National Security Requests that we received. The disclosures we’re currently allowed to make are limited, and unfortunately, we’re not permitted to paint a more truthful picture.

We’ll update this report every six months so that we can compare the volume of requests we receive over time. In future reports, we’ll include information about the volume of copyright takedown requests we receive and process under the DMCA. We’ll also update you on the actions we’re taking on the internet, in the courts, and in Congress, to defend our users and promote a free and open internet. So stay tuned to the “News” tab of the report!

Share and Share Alike

Like all of our policy documentation, our transparency report is released under a Creative Commons Share Alike license (CC BY-SA 2.0) so that other sites can use and build on our work if they’d like.

We hope this report is useful to our users and that its data adds to the important public debate about the proper role of government in monitoring and policing activity on the modern internet.

Check out the full transparency report here.


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Jenny Zhu

23 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. Magnus Johansson

    “In addition to giving our users full transparency about the volume of these requests, [...]” but “Our policy is to notify you of any information request we receive regarding your account, so that you may challenge the request. The only exception is if we are prohibited by law (not just asked nicely by the police) from making such a notification.” So that is how full the full transparency gets, right?

  2. Charlotte Ortega

    Thanks for the report but I wonder how I would know directly that I was subject to government censorship. And it appears from what I have read above that wordpress is censorred and that they do not enjoy unfettered freedom to publish. Clearly there are laws to protect the vulnerable and prevent exploitation but when it comes to activism and moral consiousness I worry!

  3. Om Kicau

    Thank you for letting us know ….
    That’s why I am also proud and like to blog on wordpress.com …

  4. tom

    Interesting, More of this stuff from US than from Russia and China combined. Edward Snowden would be proud.

  5. David Bennett

    Is there a common feature to the approximately 50 sites for which you received government information requests?

  6. Widdershins

    Thank you :)

  7. hollydawnhewlett

    WAY TO GO!!!

  8. Florian

    Thanks, Automattic. Much appreciated.

  9. Jenny Zhu

    Reblogged this on i want to go to there. and commented:

    Our first transparency report has been published! #nerdingout

  10. Bill Bennett

    Reblogged this on Bill Bennett and commented:
    Good to see WordPress publishing a transparency report. It appears the blogging software company takes its media role seriously.

  11. bpword

    Thanks so much. This is great.

  12. Charlotte Ortega

    So my comment is awaiting moderation…… or is this another term for wordpress censorship.So much for rhetoric on democratic process!

  13. aquadraco

    I was most surprised by the small number of requests, especially considering the enormous number of WordPress sites and the wide range of topics and opinions expressed.Thank you for defending our right to free speech.

  14. Ryan Boren

    Reblogged this on Ryan Boren and commented:

    “We’re reporting the maximum amount of information allowed by law about the number and types of National Security Requests that we received. The disclosures we’re currently allowed to make are limited, and unfortunately, we’re not permitted to paint a more truthful picture.”

    Being forced by your government to lie and obscure is corrosive, soul-rotting, and evil. I got into WordPress and web publishing to help people speak past the lumps their governments try to lodge in their throats. This report is important speech, saying what it can around the lumps, and I’m proud of it.

    “We wish we could tell you more.”

    Chilling, isn’t it?

  15. Simon

    Reblogged this on Simon Ouderkirk and commented:

    I am so very pleased and proud to work for a company that is on the forefront of both publishing and the rights of artists and authors on the Internet. Having had a chance to work with the legal team at WordPress.com has been a highly educational, and inspirational, experience.

  16. kazmisahib

    really appreciate the effort of great team.

  17. eherman24

    Thanks for all that you do to protect our freedoms! More of a reason to love WordPress and Automattic! Keep it up!

  18. onnovocks

    Thanks for trying, thumbs up!

  19. Stef

    I just read the transparency report. Thank you for publishing this information, and for doing what you can to keep this forum open and informed.

    One thing I missed was the number of requests that were fulfilled. For example, if 5 take down requests were made, how many of those 5 sites were actually taken down? Maybe I missed that information somewhere? If it’s not currently available, what are your thoughts about providing it?

  20. marysmirror

    Wow, very nice you are letting us know what the single governments wanted to know. I don’t think many services for blogging provide this informations. It is a great step towards the transparency every service should give its users!

  21. equinoxio21

    A very commendable initiative. Thank you to all the people who’ve worked on this.
    Take care
    Brian

  22. jmathews17

    I respect the push for open and transparent activity. Publishing these types of reports will continue to place WordPress and others like it high in customer satisfaction and trust. Exactly what is needed in today’s society.

  23. mr-gadget.net

    I respect the push for open and transparent activity.
    Publishing these types of reports will continue to
    place WordPress and others like it high in customer
    satisfaction and trust. Exactly what is needed in
    today’s society.

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