Model Battles Google, Yahoo in Court Over Images Linking Her to Porn Sites

Maria Belen Rodriguez Blurred Google Image Search

Have you ever had something less than favorable appear when you ran a search of yourself or a client online? If you have, you know that getting content removed is no easy undertaking.

That begs us to ask, should search engines be responsible for damaging content that appears in search results? That is exactly what Argentinian model Maria Belen Rodriguez is trying to prove in high court.

What's the Story?

Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against Google and Yahoo in 2006 for search results that link her to pornographic sites. As part of that suit, Rodriguez won the equivalent of $15,000 U.S. (which was later lowered to $6,200).

According to Rodriguez, these results have "ruined" her life and done damage to her reputation. As a wife and mother, she is embarrassed and would like the links to the pornographic sites removed immediately. While she believes in freedom of speech her goal is to set a precedent so that this same situation doesn't happen to someone else.

What Does Google Have to Say?

"Search engines are neutral platforms that do not create nor control content on the web,” Google said in a statement to CNN. One of the interviewees in the CNN video argued that the creators of content should be held responsible, not the search engines.

What Do You Think?

As we await the verdict from the Argentinian high court it gives us time to ponder – who should be responsible for removing defaming content from the Internet? Is it the person who created the content? Is it the search engine providing links to the content? What's your take?

About the author

Ashley Zeckman is the director of strategy and development for Gruen Agency, a Minneapolis-based digital marketing agency. She is responsible for the digital marketing strategy for the organization, which includes branding, search engine optimization, social media, content marketing, and PR.

Prior to joining Gruen Agency, Ashley was the director of marketing and client relations for Benovate, a population health management company. Ashley also held the position of marketing manager for TopRank Online Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Her areas of expertise include content marketing, social media marketing, communications, client relations, integrated marketing, marketing strategy, SEO, digital PR, blogging, B2B and B2C marketing, customer segmentation, and social media strategy.