Back in 2014, the European Union’s courts decided individuals covered by their jurisdiction had a right to not have some information about them show up in search results, the so-called “right to be forgotten.” Although action to protect individuals exercising this right applies to all search engines, by virtue of its size and having been a party to the original complaint, Google has been the primary recipient of attention regarding how this right will actually be implemented. To help the public understand the impact of the decision, Google has released a transparency report on search removals.
According to Google, the numbers they released cover the period of time going all the way back to May 29, 2014, when the company implemented their official request process. Based on the requirements of the ruling, Google has to consider each and every request individually on its merits, without using automated tools, thus turning things over to a large team of individuals.
So far that team has received 348,508 requests pursuant to the “right to be forgotten.” Those requests have resulted in the removal of 1,235,473 URLs from search results. Google indicates they have removed 42% of the URLs reviewed, meaning they have reviewed over 2.9 million URLs.
The breadth of sites that have been impacted through search results being suppressed is apparently quite large as the top ten sites only comprise 9% of the URLs removed from search results. Heading up the list is Facebook, followed by Profileengine.com, Google’s Groups platform, YouTube and Badoo in the top five.
Come comment on this article: Google sheds some light on EU’s requirement to keep some info out of the light