The landmark “right to be forgotten” ruling in the EU has led Google to delist over one million URLs from its search engine.
A 2014 court ruling gave European citizens the right to request that Google prevent inaccurate or irrelevant information about them from appearing in the company’s search results. Since the ruling went into effect, Google has received almost 2.4 million URL removal requests from 400,000 requesters; 43 percent of requests were approved, Google revealed.
Requests have been made by all walks of life, from corporations to politicians to celebrities. For instance, government officials filed over 33,000 URL removals, 11.7 percent of which were granted. About 89 percent of URL removals come from private citizens, including minors. Top internet sites targeted in these requests include Facebook, Google Plus, YouTube and Twitter.
“Some requesters seek to control their digital footprint exposed through social networks and directory services, while others delist URLs related to news sources and government reports,” Google staff wrote in separate research paper on the findings.
Some people tried to submit “fraudulent and erroneous” information to Google by offering forged documents or omitting details in an effort to delist unsavory URLs about their criminal convictions.
The company will rejected attempts to delist URLs involving information that Google finds valuable to the public, like articles about financial scams or news on the public conduct of government officials.
Once a URL is removed, Google users in Europe will no longer see it appear in their search results. However, the URL will remain for users outside the region.
Google has long argued that right to be forgotten laws will have unintended consequences, which it reiterated this week. “Overall, the RTBF [right to be forgotten laws] can lead to a reshaping of search results for certain individuals, where just 1,000 entities (0.25% of roughly 400,000 Europeans) requested to delist over 346,000 URLs,” the company wrote in the research paper.