BBC Editor Blogs About Google ‘Forgetting’ His Blog Post

Source: Thinkstock

A BBC editor is providing a look into what it’s like to be on the opposite side of one of Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) European Union removal requests after one of his blog posts was removed from some searches.

The BBC is the United Kingdom’s public broadcasting service. It is part entertainment (Doctor Who is among its most famous shows) and part news agency. Like many other news organizations, the BBC has a website with results that can show up in a Google search depending on the topic of the query. The BBC just received a notice from Google informing it that a blog post by one of its editors had been removed from search results on Google’s European versions.

BBC economics editor Robert Peston wrote the blog post that Google removed from its results. He responded by writing another blog post detailing the situation. The post details the perspective from the opposite side of the request, from that of a person whose work was removed from a Google search results page.

It turns out that Google removing a link from search results doesn’t remove it entirely. Peston was able to find the story using another search term, showing that removals do not completely blacklist such links from all related Google searches.

Google has started removing requested links by European users in light of the European Union’s Court of Justice ruling that enforced that users have the right to be forgotten. Now, a major news agency is complaining that its content is getting removed.

Google was reluctant to remove links in the first place. That is why Google was the defendant in the European court case that determined individuals have “the right to be forgotten,” meaning that they can request Google remove old, outdated results from its results pages.

Google later denounced the ruling as “censorship” but quickly put up a form for removal requests so that it could continue to do business in European Union countries. So far, Google has received more than 50,000 requests. The tech giant has also recently started to remove links, leaving notices on affected pages and informing webmasters of the removals of their pages. The BBC received one of these emails in regards to Peston’s blog post.

From this incident, the aftermath of the court ruling gains a new dimension. First, that when Google removes a link due to a request, it informs the owner of the link that was removed from Google search results. As CNET noted in its coverage, this could result in the Streisand effect, whereby a removed link — or the request that one be removed — could draw more attention to it.

This is especially true if the affected party decides to broadcast that they received such a notice from Google. After all, the resulting BBC post has generated some buzz online.

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