59 Percent of Right-To-Be-Forgotten Removal Requests Are Rejected by Google

/ 2 years ago


A year has passed since the European Court of Justice decided that search engines should remove certain links from their rendered content as long as those links are no longer relevant or are inadequate. As you might suspect, Google was hit particularly hard by this decision, as it is undoubtedly the most popular search engine. Over the last year, the company has been hard at work honoring and rejecting the hundreds of thousands of requests that were submitted by individuals from all over the world. Interestingly enough, Google has rejected 59 percent of the URLs in question, which is a pretty big number.

This means that the Court’s ruling is quite permissive when it comes to actually respecting these removal requests. Not everyone has the right to be forgotten, it would seem. In the company’s defense, some of the requests were not exactly reasonable or in the interest of the common search engine user. Imagine someone who has been rightfully convicted of a serious offense requesting that news of his sentencing would be removed from the search results. Yes, many of these cases actually happened. Google stated that it has removed 322,601 links from its results and that it has rejected 457,958 of them. The top sites that were the target of these removals included YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. When asked about this particular topic, Google’s representatives stated the following:

“In evaluating a request, we will look at whether the results include outdated or inaccurate information about the person. We’ll also weigh whether or not there’s a public interest in the information remaining in our search results—for example, if it relates to financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions or your public conduct as a government official (elected or unelected).

Our removals team has to look at each page individually and base decisions on the limited context provided by the requestor and the information on the webpage. Is it a news story? Does it relate to a criminal charge that resulted in a later conviction or was dismissed?”

Do you think that Google’s decision to reject these requests was justified?

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information.

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