Google Grants 40 Percent of Right to Be Forgotten Requests

Search and web company Google has revealed that it has received almost one million URL takedown requests and complied about 40 percent of the time in the year since it has been applying the European right to be forgotten.

The controversial right to be forgotten ruling has been accepted reluctantly by Google, and the firm has spent much of the past year questioning its obligations under the ruling.

A Google transparency announcement published on the anniversary of the European Court of Justice ruling revealed that the firm has complied with 253,617 requests concerning 920,258 URLs.

Google breaks down the numbers further, showing that the company received ‘removal evaluations’ for some 126,000 URLs in the UK adding up to around 32,000 requests. The requests were complied with approximately 30 percent of the time.

The firm revealed some details that shed light on individual requests. “A media professional requested that we remove four links to articles reporting on embarrassing content he posted to the internet. We did not remove the pages from search results,” Google said.

An example when Google did comply concerned a quashed conviction. “An individual who was convicted of a serious crime in the last five years, but whose conviction was quashed on appeal, asked us to remove an article about the incident. We removed the page from search results for the individual’s name,” the firm said.

The transparency report includes a top 10 list of target sites, and Facebook came first with 6,772 links removed. Other sites in the top 10, which accounts for eight percent of all requests, include Google+, Google Groups, YouTube and Twitter.

The right to be forgotten had an immediate impact on Google and, while the firm has asked for assistance and guidance on how best to manage the obligation, it did not take long for the requests to start coming in.

Google revealed that tens of thousands of demands came its way within the first few weeks.

Much of the talk in Europe since that time has been about extending the remit of the right to be forgotten to .com domains, as the European Union wants the ruling to apply worldwide rather than just in Europe.

This article was originally published on V3.

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