If searching for your name in Google shows links to unwanted content, how do you go about controlling this information?

What unwanted content can you remove?

Unwanted content can come in various different forms and can have a negative impact on how you are perceived both personally and professionally.

It’s generally information about you that’s displayed without your consent. It could be something that’s a minor inconvenience or potentially very damaging:

  • Private information:

    Whether it’s as simple as your home address, date of birth or personal mobile number, this type of information can easily find its way online. You may have owned a business, requiring you to put personal information on the business records. In this type of case you’ll struggle to remove the details although if they’re simply as part of a directory listing, there are ways to hide or remove the details.

  • Private or unwanted images or videos:

    • Revenge porn is a hot topic. This is the publication of personal explicit material without consent. A revenge porn law came into effect in 2015 which means perpetrators can be jailed for up to two years.
    • If images of you appear online and you haven’t consented to them being published, but they don’t break any laws, you can still challenge the sites hosting images and prevent them from showing in search results. You can also use the Google Removal tool to get the material deleted from the search results. It’s best to ask an expert to process this for the best results.
    • Take care when uploading photos or videos online, even on a site with high privacy settings. Photos or videos can and do ‘leak’ and cause damage to professional reputations.
  • Persistent online trolling:

    If someone is harassing you online and posting unwanted things about you on social media and forums, for example, talk to the site’s moderators. They may decide to remove the content and/or block the user. However, it can often be difficult to track and monitor. Using Google Alerts enables you to monitor when people mention your name online, which helps.

  • Unwanted press articles:

    Press articles can be difficult to remove. Particularly if it’s a large or high profile press organisation, with a high site authority. You can approach them and ask for an article to be removed. But if it’s deemed to be in the public interest then there isn’t much leeway. You can use Google’s Right to be Forgotten (RTBF) tool, but again, they take public interest into consideration. There are some ways to ensure the press articles are less influential to your online reputation, through releasing positive, news related PR and sustained content online.

  • Defamatory content:

    If there’s content about you online that is false and damaging to your reputation, there’s a good chance you can get it removed. This can come from individual blog sites, which you can contact directly or through Google’s Right to be Forgotten. Alternatively, you can contact forums directly. Whether it’s an outright lie or a misrepresentation of the facts, it could fall into the defamatory bracket.

Repairing your reputation

Whatever issues you’re facing online, there’s a high chance that these problems can be resolved. Unwanted content can be either removed or pushed down search results by generating new and positive stories and online activity.

If the unwanted content breaks a law or is defamatory or unsubstantiated, then it will be removed once reported, in most cases.

Other information also has a high chance of being either removed or pushed down the search results for your name, at least from google.co.uk. So there’s always a way to repair and recover your online reputation by removing unwanted content.

Each case differs and takes time, which is why you should seek professional advice from online reputation experts like Igniyte, which has years of experience challenging and removing content online. It’s also worth speaking with a legal expert if there’s a clear case of broken legislation.

Many cases require prompt responses for the best results; this can be a lengthy procedure, depending on the other party’s cooperation and the other factors in the case.

Partnering with legal experts in intellectual property and media law, Igniyte offers various services including advice on copyright issues online and as the legal options available to you when challenging online content.

We strive to transparently communicate the best available options to you and what’s likely to be most effective. Once you’re aware of the realistic chances of your unwanted information being removed, you can look to improve your online representation as a whole.

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