You Autocomplete Me: Should Google Monitor Suggestions?

This week, a court in Hong Kong ruled that Albert Yeung has the right to sue Google for autocomplete suggestions that link him to organized crime.

According to a report from the Associated Press, Yeung is suing Google because it "refused to remove autocomplete suggestions such as ‘triad,' as organized crime gangs are known in China."

When you enter Yeung's name into Google, "triad" is among the terms that pop up in the autocomplete box as exemplified below.

yeung-autocomplete

According to Forbes, Yeung is worth approximately $1.1 billion and has consistently appeared on its "Hong Kong's 50 Richest" list.

yeung-forbes

Yeung is known as a self-made billionaire with ties to real estate and the retail and entertainment industries.

Google had argued the proper course of action would be for Yeung to address the websites directly that were publishing the "inaccurate" information. However, the ruling judge disagreed and said, "Google had the ability to censor material," the AP reported.

This case is just another in a long line of so-called "Right to be Forgotten" requests and lawsuits that search engines have faced over the past few months.

While we can appreciate that no such case would ever hold water in the United States, that doesn't mean we are not affected. These cases are beginning to create holes in history and take away access to information. What do you see being the long-term consequences of cases like this?

About the author

Ashley Zeckman is the Director of Marketing for Benovate, a Minneapolis based health management company. She is responsible for the digital marketing strategy for the organization which includes search engine optimization, social media, and content marketing. She also provides guidance on communications best practices and on the communications support available for each client's unique business needs and budget.

Prior to joining Benovate, Ashley was a Communications Manager for RedBrick Health. Ashley also held the position of Marketing Manager for TopRank Online Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Her areas of expertise include communications, client relations, integrated marketing, online marketing, marketing strategy, content marketing, SEO, digital PR, blogging, B2B and B2C marketing, customer segmentation, and social media strategy.