Google Receives More than 1,000 ‘Right to Be Forgotten’ Requests Every Day

google search

There you are (not)!

Update on Google’s forced European “Right to Be Forgotten” experiment: it’s going strong with no signs of slowing down.

Since the law became official in May, more than 145,000 individuals across Europe have requested that the company remove certain links. Britons alone have begged for the removal of some 60K items currently listed in Google’s search results — and they were third behind France and Germany.

This Telegraph “what people want removed” post offers a revealing look at just how unworkable this situation really is.

Some examples:

  • “An individual asked to have removed links to articles on the internet that reference his dismissal for sexual crimes committed on the job.”
  • “A media professional requested that Google remove 4 links to articles reporting on embarrassing content he posted to the Internet.”
  • “A victim of rape asked Google to remove a link to a newspaper article about the crime.”
  • “A woman requested that Google remove a decades-old article about her husband’s murder, which included her name.”

The first two were not removed; the second pair were. This fact reveals that, as annoying as it may be, the “right to be forgotten” movement may have some positive side-effects.

Now for a self-promotional flashback: in May we asked seven PR experts from the US and Europe to weigh in on the matter. We got some great quotes.

Our favorite blogger Gini Dietrich told PRs not to freak out too much…unless you have lots of European clients:

“…it’s highly unlikely the same ruling will happen anytime soon in the United States.

The best practice, no matter where you are in the world, is to not put anything in writing you don’t want used against you later, always apologize when you do something wrong (and you will; you’re human), and continue ethical business practices that will outweigh the negative.”

Erik Deutsch of Excel PR on what will happen if the ruling does move overseas:

“…we’ll simply instruct Google to de-index negative information that we can argue adheres to the court’s very broad definition. Our role as PR pros will be to learn how to make such arguments effectively.”

Leslie Campisi of Hotwire PR on the root of the problem:

“If privacy is a concern, surely it would be better to question what information is allowed to be placed online, and to set limits on that, rather than making it the search engine’s problem to fix.”

How closely are we watching the “forgotten” developments? And how much do we need to worry?