CEO Of Netflix, Reed Hastings, attends the red carpet during the Netflix presentation party at the Invernadero del Palacio de Cristal de la Arganzuela on April 4, 2019 in Madrid, Spain.
Juan Naharro Gimenez | Getty Images
For the first time, Netflix has published the number of requests it’s received from governments to remove content from the streaming platform. Netflix said it has pulled just nine pieces of content in 23 years.
Starting in 2021, Netflix said it intends to report government takedown requests each year. Many tech companies report such requests annually, including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, among others.
In 2019, Netflix removed an episode of “Patriot Act” with the comedian Hasan Minhaj from its service in Saudi Arabia at the request of the government, for example. The company took down the episode, titled “Saudi Arabia,” after the Saudi government said it allegedly violated anti-cybercrime law. The move was criticized by some free speech advocates who said it didn’t encourage artistic freedom.
Also in 2019, Netflix removed Martin Scorsese’s epic religious film “The Last Temptation of Christ” from its service in Singapore, after a request from the Singapore Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA). The film is banned in the country.
Earlier this year, Netflix removed the Brazilian television comedy series “The Last Hangover” from its service in Singapore following a request from Singapore’s IMDA. The IMDA also requested Netflix remove “Cooking on High,” “The Legend of 420” and “Disjointed” from its Singapore service in 2018.
Netflix in 2017 received requests from the Vietnamese Authority of Broadcasting and Electronic Information to remove “Full Metal Jacket” from its service there, as well as from the German Commission of Youth Protection to remove “Night of the Living Dead” from its German service. In 2015, the New Zealand Film and Video Labeling Body requested Netflix remove “The Bridge” from its service in New Zealand after the film was classified as “objectionable” in the country.