Does Google Trends filter search terms like “Snowden” or “NSA”?

At the end of every year, Google creates statistics about frequently searched words in the current year. This year, the list of the most trending search terms worldwide is headed by the American actor Paul Walker who died in a car accident at the end of November. “Trending” means, a lot of search requests in a short period of time. The list of most searched people is headed by Miley Cyrus with her often discussed performance at the MTC music awards. Here is the list of the top 10 most searched people in 2013 according to Google Trends:

  1.  Miley Cyrus
  2. Drake
  3. Kim Kardashian
  4. Justin Bieber
  5. Beyonce
  6. Rihanna
  7. Taylor Swift
  8. Selena Gomez
  9. Katy Perry
  10. Kanye West

It is not surprising that all these people are actors or singers but it’s surprising that one famous name is not in this list: Edward Snowden. The guy who revealed that the NSA monitors a big chunk of the world’s internet traffic to find terrorists (at least, that’s the official version).

It is well known that pornographic search terms are by far the most searched terms worldwide. Google filters all these words so they don’t appear in Google Trends. The question is: What else does Google filter? Does Google filter search terms like “Snowden” or “NSA” because of federal instructions? Or does Google just want to avoid further trouble with the government? It would be interesting to see the unfiltered list to have a clear view on what people really searched this year.

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