Earlier today members of the press started noticing that certain news articles were being removed from Google’s search results due to the company’s recent move to allow takedown requests following a UK court’s ruling that its citizens have the “right to be forgotten.” As various news sources played off the situation by re-running stories (and putting their subjects back in the limelight), Google has responded by restoring many of the missing links.
It’s possible the removals were unintentional anyway. Regarding the criteria for removal, the company originally stated:
When evaluating your request, we will look at whether the results include outdated information about you, as well as whether there’s a public interest in the information—for example, information about financial scams, professional malpractice, criminal convictions, or public conduct of government officials.
Given Google’s stance that links that serve the public interest should be left alone, it seems likely that news articles would fall into this category and thus be exempt from removal requests. While the courts have ruled that some news stories be removed (including one that was a decade and a half old), it doesn’t appear that any sweeping censorship of the press is intended by the move.
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