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Which social media platforms had the biggest increase in content violations (2019-2020)?

  • Instagram is the social media platform with the biggest increase of content removal, up 427% in the last year.
  • Facebook is the social media platform with the biggest decrease of content removal, down 21%.
  • Although they saw a decrease in content removal in 2020, Facebook still removed over 10 BILLION pieces of content in 2020.

Like any business or service, social media platforms possess a duty of care towards their users. And when this duty of care is questioned, often because of a violation of their usage terms of service, they are bound by this duty to act upon said violations.

This duty of care is of greater importance than ever before as social media continues to attract younger audiences. And whilst the majority of platforms state in their terms and conditions that one must be over the age of 13 to have an account, kids and teens have been known to flood to the likes of TikTok, Instagram and Snapchat. Whilst Instagram and TikTok attempt to restrict their content to only registered users, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter do not – therefore allowing those under the age of 13 to browse content that may be unsuitable.


In a bid to reveal which social media platforms are most likely to keep their community of users safe, our Digital PR team examined recent transparency reports from Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram for potential increases year-on-year for content removal, which includes posts, comments, and users.


Transparency reports contain a lot of different information, but the most important section details how they are tackling violations of their terms and conditions so that consumers can feel safe.

As an example, TechCrunch reported that nearly four times the amount of subreddits on Reddit were removed in 2020 compared to 2019, in a bid to make the internet a safer place.


Instagram is the social media platform with the biggest year-on-year increase of content removal. Instagram has only increased in popularity over the years, and the rise of influencers means it shows no sign of slowing its growth. Instagram has shown an increase in the number of posts removed by 427% (106,405,100).

In second place is YouTube, with an increase of 135% for removed content in 2020. YouTube further broke down their removed content by country and Reboot Digital PR can reveal that the UK has seen the eighth largest increase in YouTube content removal at 135%, whilst the USA ranks 28th.

One of the biggest contributors to content demonetisation and removal from social media platforms, especially in the case of influencers, is copyright violations.

Following in third place is TikTok, with nearly 50 million pieces of unique content being removed in 2019, compared to almost 105 million in 2020 – this is an increase of 112%

Twitter has shown the smallest increase in removed content, at only 0.65%. As well as this, over 20 blue-ticked accounts have already been permanently banned since the start of 2021.

Unlike Instagram, Facebook has shown a decrease in the volume of removed content – the largest of all social media platforms analysed, at 21% Approximately 3 billion less pieces of content were removed in 2020 (12,433,370,000) compared to 15,675,330,000 in 2019.


According to our research, copyright is a huge factor in the number of content removals and is expected to continue to rise as influencers grow in popularity. One of the largest reasons for content violation on these platforms is copyright infringement, and examples of this include:

  • The use of music
  • Product displays without proper licensing or permission.

Violation breaches, such as these, can not only result in content removal but also demonetisation.


YouTube’s transparency report provides a further regional breakdown, showing which countries have had the biggest percentage increase in removed content.

Top 5 Countries


Removed content in the period Oct-Dec 2020 Removed content in the period Oct-Dec 2019 Percentage increase of removed content
Saudi Arabia 136,707 42,026 225.29%
Turkey 272,124 93,575 190.81%
Iraq 247,472 88,377 180.02%
Brazil 865,420 331,406 161.14%
Bangladesh 172,835 68,445 152.52%


  • Saudi Arabia is the country with the largest percentage increase in content removal, at 225%, with Turkey in second place (190%), and Iraq in third (180%).
  • The United Kingdom ranks eighth, with an increase in content removal of 134.78%.
  • Third from the bottom is Japan, at 6%, whilst the United States and Russia are the countries with the smallest percentage increase in content removal, at only 4%.


  1. Reboot SEO Company analysed the relevant transparency reports for Twitter, Facebook (including Instagram), YouTube (via Google), and TikTok.
  2. Using historic reports, they calculated the percentage increase or decrease in data available from the two most recent reporting periods between Jan 1st – Dec 31st 2019 and Jan 1st 2020 – Dec 31st For Twitter, the Jan-June 2019 was compared with the Jan-June 2020 report only since July-Dec 2020 has not yet been released.
  3. These calculations are an approximation only of the data presented in the reports, and does not account for restored or appealed content, or data not yet released.
  4. Percentages were rounded to the nearest whole number, with the exception of Twitter.
  5. Historic transparency report data was not available for Snapchat.


Article by Reboot SEO Agency


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