It’s now two years since the Right to be Forgotten ruling was brought in by Google. So how different is the search engine in comparison to before the ruling?

What difference has Right to be Forgotten made?

Right to be Forgotten gives people the chance to ask for outdated or irrelevant articles to be removed from Google. It has been a hugely divisive feature with users of the internet since its introduction in May 2014.

The removal of links to sites which include “inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive information” means that people can impact upon what people find when searching for a certain topic. Recent figures suggest that around 43% of submissions prove successful and nearly 1.4 million URLs have been removed since May 2014.

Some see it as a way to manipulate and hide relevant, useful content. However, others argue that people deserve a say in what people are reading and determining from a person or company.

Google have tightened the exploitation of the rule. The search engine only removes links determined irrelevant and/or outdated. If the story is in the public interest, then you’ll have little chance of having it removed without a court order.

Where do we stand?

At the moment, the Right to be Forgotten ruling only exists in Europe, but Google is beginning to block search results across all of its domains when a search takes place within Europe.

In the recent ‘celebrity threesome’ case, the parties involved took out an injunction against people in the UK reporting on the news. A simple search for the term ‘celebrity threesome’ in would instantly tell you the parties involved. However, removed the results in line with UK law.

Google has resisted hiding them in the US, Japan and Australia thus far. A French privacy authority recently challenged and fined Google for its resistance in hiding results to protect the French public’s privacy. Google has appealed against this fine and is fighting against a unanimous rule.

It seems that there remains to be an imbalance with which information is available to which users.

Do you have the right to be forgotten?

Google’s purpose is to aggregate and organise information for us and find the most relevant sites for the user’s query. You may have a chance to safeguard your company’s, or your own reputation. This is with the Right to be Forgotten ruling.

To submit a Right to be Forgotten request to Google, you will need the following:

  • An EU passport or driving license to prove you are the individual that the link relates to (you can submit on behalf of others).
  • The full web address of the link you are requesting for removal from the search results.
  • The search term i.e. your name.
  • A reason aligned to the EU ruling why you feel the link is ‘irrelevant’, ‘outdated’ or ‘not in the public interest’.

Once the decision is made, it cannot be overturned unless some more information becomes available. It’s therefore important to get it right first time around.

Igniyte work with businesses and brands to monitor search results for key terms. This process helps ensure that a company is presented fairly and accurately online.

You can find out more by downloading our free guide to Building Your Company Reputation Online.

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