Wednesday afternoon, Tableau Software removed data visualizations published by WikiLeaks to Tableau Public. We understand this is a sensitive issue and want to assure the public and our users that this was not an easy decision, nor one that we took lightly.

We created Tableau Public—a free service that enables anyone to make interactive graphs from their data and share them online—because we recognized the need for strong analytics tools in a data-driven world. Given the controversy around the WikiLeaks data, we’ve closely followed the debate about who actually has the rights to the leaked data.

Our terms of service require that people using Tableau Public do not upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available any content that they do not have the right to make available. Furthermore, if we receive a complaint about a particular set of data, we retain the right to investigate the situation and remove any offending data, if necessary.

Our decision to remove the data from our servers came in response to a public request by Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, when he called for organizations hosting WikiLeaks to terminate their relationship with the website.

This will inevitably be met with mixed reaction. However, our terms of service were created to ensure responsible use of data.

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I've never had the need for your services and but you can be sure that I never will now. I am a Seattle resident. I'm absolutely ashamed and disgusted that your business is a part of our community (I feel the same toward Amazon).
I will be sure to pass this story and your lame excuses on to every person on know so they can be sure to steer clear of you.
I don't generally wish ill on people but I won't be sad if I read you've gone out of business in the future.

bye bye. Will never use your service again. You dont deserve value or revenue streams of any kind

I have good news for you. You can always change your mind by reposting the data charts, with a new statement saying simply: "Upon further investigation, we concluded that the data presented was no different than what had already appeared in global newspapers, and was, in fact, the right of the user to display"

See how easy that was?

So go ahead, and put yourselves and your company out of misery.

I never heard of "Tableausoftware" until viewing the data visualization from Wikileaks. Unfortunately, your actions on behalf of Senator Lieberman appear completely arbitrary since the data visualizations contain none of the data that you claim violated your TOS. Therefore, it's probably a safe assumption that anyone using your services is subject to similar arbitrary restriction. That said, I could never use your services out of fear of being similarly treated based on whatever politician of the moment happens to frighten you.

Please put the Wiki Leaks visualizations back up.  You removed them for invalid reasons.  Absolutely nobody visualizing data actually "owns" the data.  

Are you going to remove all data from newspapers who are simply publishing other's data?

Don't be a bunch of rotten cowards here!!

Another shameful testimony to the (struggling) world 'how power rules'.

Goodbye Tableau, we would not want to be associated and promote Software Companies that brought their political ideology into their Business Practices.

I am an adjunct that has been recommending your software to students. I will no longer do so. I understand that you are put in a very tough position when a Senator not-so-covertly threatens you and I realize you did not ask to be put in the position of "free speech champions". However, you /were/ put in that position and you made the wrong choice. I hope that you consult with legal counsel and reverse it.

It's a pity you don't really value free access to information. I won't be using your services anymore, hopefully many many others feel the same way. I'm also boycotting Amazon. Goodbye Tableau.

Well, you could always GROW A PAIR.

America. Home of the pussy. Land of the oppressed.

Cowards! The name of Tableau will be infamously remembered by this act of intellectual terrorism against our people. You chose to uphold the dark powers that keep a blind over the ears of our great nation and, for that matter, the world. Shame on you, Tableau

Elissa, so much for your mixed reaction. You folks took Amazon's cue and did a volte-face within 3 days of your gushing post ("hey look it's Wikileaks!"). Amazon will survive the backlash due to its size and brand, but you may not be so lucky. At a minimum, your brand will be remembered for the 'company that caved in without standing up for its customer/user'.

I will do my little bit to steer people away from your company because you have, in your small way, helped lower our freedoms to that in Iran, Burma and China where banishment of content and pronouncement of guilt requires no due process, just a phone call from a politician. Could you please move there and take Lieberman with you!

I discovered your software through Wikileaks, and i must say it looked promising but I can't stand with a private company that weakens at the first government menace.

Too bad.

Censorship! Where is their First Amendment?

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety -Benjamin Franklin-

I learned about Tableau Software as a result of Wikileaks and installed your application precisely so I could examine the Wikileaks visualizations. I am disappointed that you have cravenly removed this data in the face of improper governmental coercion. Now I'll be removing your software from my computer. Goodbye, Tableau Software.

Yes, yes. And in Nazi Germany the railroad workers just switched cars. You just decided to go with what Lieberman suggested. You just used your discretion to delete a single customer. Your right, after all. In truth you turned your backs on Americans and Democracy. Worked nicely. The government will reward you. Citizens like us have no clout. You did go through angst and wring your hands, didn't you. Poor things. Comfort yourselves that you did the normal safe thing. After all, who does own those documents. And you can ignore the large amount of damage you have done to Democracy, Freedom of Speech and our Democratic Republic. Shame on you.

So Joe Lieberman called, without any legal backing, and you sucked up to it? Tableau Software vs. Free Speech 1:0.

I also believe this was ....

A act of cowardice and capitulation in the face of government censorship and makes it impossible for me to use your services with a clear conscience. I'm very disappointed by your decision.

The only thing your site will get is a overload of traffic from all the news and not a cent from anyone who believes in the freedoms that made creating your software possible in the first place!

It was a awful decision and you have played right into their hands.

Aloha means hello. It also means goodbye. After your response,good-bye is the correct interpretation here

Spent the last 3 months selling your software to my CFO. And yes you do have a wonderful product. But extremely let down by your decision. You just lost a Fortune 50 client.

I find this blog post offensive. Will you please remove it for me?

Or do I need to be a U.S. Senator in order for you to take such dumb requests seriously?

Tableau - I think you I think what you did was right. I can understand why you needed to remove the offending data.

Don't take all these pile-on bullies as what the rest of us think. I respect and admire your company more than I did before.

I will puke if next time I see any politician criticize how Chinese or Iranian government censors information that its citizens deserve to know.

I am especially puking now when seeing business voluntarily cut off wikileak on behalf the hypocritical politicians, Palin idiots, and bully usa government.

Time to find a company that supports freedom of speech.

Genuflection before profit!

Weak minded and pathetic - and I'm hearten to see that you are not seeing "a mixed reaction". Most people see this move for what it is - bow to the green back.

I've been trialling Tableau software, but after this decision have decided not to go ahead with the purchase. As some other commenters have said, I'm a European, and this cowardly move has historical connotations which are deeply unpleasant. Best of luck in the future.

Shame on you for yielding to a cowardly bully who wants to beat down free information with a lead truncheon.

You are cowards yourselves.

Your software will never be used, referenced, marketed or amped by the largest technology company in the world for your duplicitous behavior.

Bunch of morons, what about Free Speech?
This is my last visit to this crap site and I hope you go out of business

Shame on you

I will no longer support Tableau. I will take my money elsewhere.

Hi Guys,

It takes courage to stand up against the big brother. I know it is difficult for you as a company. Open source software is always available as a replacement.

Words that come to mind when I think of Tableau Software... Pathetic. Cowardly. Shameful. Stupid. Idiotic. Ignorant. Fascist.

Weak. Just weak.

So Lieberman, of all people (!!), is your moral compass these days, eh? No matter how you spin it, this is utterly spineless...shame on you.

Shame on you for not allowing wikileaks here. Are you not Americans? Don't you care about what our government does? Would you rather we be kept blind to the state policies we pay for, and the actions of politicians we elect?

You are clearly displaying your opposition to democracy.

This is what WikiLeaks meant with putting a reputational tax on unethical companies:
http://blogs.forbes.com/andygreenberg/2010/11/29/wikileaks-julian-assang...

When in doubt: go with the people who have comitted less crimes.

And, thanks for explaining why relying on your company is not such a good idea. You allowed a megalomaniac senator with free speech allergy to perpetrate censorship.

I am starting a master thesis in a few weeks and was considering your software for data visualization. Not anymore, sorry.

So does that mean that if I make a complaint about any use that Senator Lieberman makes of Tableau you will remove whatever he's doing with it? Since when is a complaint grounds for making a decision like this? Either have the courage of your convictions and say that you disagree with what Wikileaks is doing or leave them alone.

Courage, Tableau, courage. You chose to stick to your rules of engagement - people using your service must have legitimate access to the data. In other words, a guy who steals the data, puts our country and thousands of people at risk and then claims it's about free speech. Lieberman or not, the right thing was to take down this illegally gotten data to which the poster had no rights.

Wow!

This decision of yours is so shockingly bad on so many levels, it really does call into question the quality of your management and the viability of your company.

Cowardly and easily prone to panic = Tableau.

Tableau = EPIC FAIL.

"Hey gang! Have you heard? It's Toe Tag Days At Tableau!"

I think you shot your own foot. What will a company do without clients? Maybe you're still in time to reconsider your previous decision...

"Censorship. There's no way around it, you will not recover from this loss of credibility."

I agree with the above, and you lost (another potential) customer. And gained a lot of bad publicity on all places infographics and data visualization related.

I'm really disappointed about this decision.
Thank you very much for your proof of political independence.
I'm moving on and must now recommend the same to others.

Very, very, very disappointing.

Bad, bad decision. Very damaging for the USA because companies overseas will remember this when they choose Web service providers.

I'm disappointed. Do you have any evidence from Mr. Lieberman that the data belongs to him?

I do not accept political censorschip !

Will argue to boycott your software in all forums and Blogs ein know. censorship is

something wich normaly happens only in socialist countries, keep the Internet free.

How often do you gave in the past removed data from your virtualization plattform?

In this situation someone can conclude that your given reason are strongly influenced from outside your organization. It is surely a difficult decision, but in our democratic world we have the separation of power. So that there will be someone else who must decide what is wrong/illegal.

"Presume someone innocent till proven that he is guilty".

If I remeber correctly it is a passage in the federal constitution.

War is peace,
Freedom is slavery,
Ignorance is strength.

- George Orwell, 1984

I am pretty sure, you got a visit from the US gov with the straight advice to kick wikileaks.

This is what I expect from cowards and I won't use your services anymore!!

Why don't all you complainers pass the hat and start your own server farm, create your own visualization software, etc. If you think Wikileaks has the right to freeload off other people's resources, put your money where your mouths are and go make those resources available yourselves. Or STFU.


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