23rd Mar 2018

Google removes press links after EU ruling

  • Google has removed over 70,000 "right to be forgotten" links (Photo: Carlos Luna)

Google has removed over 70,000 Internet links, amid accusations it is trying to promote critical reactions to a EU court ruling by targeting major media outlets.

The US firm on Thursday (3 July) said it was getting around 1,000 "right to be forgotten" requests a day.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The EU court in Luxembourg in May ruled the search giant should delete links on searches done on the basis of a person’s name if found “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant.”

The content itself is not removed or deleted.

Earlier this week British media outlets the Guardian, The Daily Mail, the BBC and others received notices links that some of their articles would be swiped off.

The Guardian said it received notices Google pulled six of its articles. Three of the articles are about a now-retired Scottish Premier League referee who had lied about the reasons for granting a team a penalty.

The Mail Online has similar stories on the same Scottish Premier League referee yanked.

The BBC’s economics editor Robert Peston, for his part, was informed by the company it would remove a link on its European search results to a blog he wrote in 2007.

“Notice of removal from Google Search: we regret to inform you that we are no longer able to show the following pages from your website in response to certain searches on European versions of Google,” wrote Google.

Peston’s blog had mentioned the name of the former boss of the investment bank Merrill Lynch, Stan O'Neal.

The request sparked accusations the investment banker had asked Google to remove his name. O'Neal is the only name mentioned in the blog entry.

Peston inquired on the “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” basis of the decision.

But links to the blog mentioning Stan O’Neal remained online.

Peston says O’Neal had not made the request after all. Instead, the request mostly likely came from someone who left a public comment on his blog.

Peston says Google “has gone a bit over the top in restricting searches” to his blog.

The BBC Google dispute has garnered the attention of the European Commission.

EU digital spokesperson Ryan Heath said Google appears to be accepting all the requests “on the cheap.”

“It may be that they’ve decided that it’s simply cheaper to just say yes to all of these requests. That’s going to spark its own debate, and rightly so,” he told the BBC.

Robert Shrimsley, a Financial Times’s columnist and the editor of the FT’s website, in a tweet wrote:

“Notable that Google is interpreting the right to be forgotten rules in the way most likely to upset journalists.”

Google, for its part, defended its actions.

“This is a new and evolving process for us. We'll continue to listen to feedback and will also work with data protection authorities and others as we comply with the ruling,” noted a Google spokesperson.

Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing

An Austrian police unit headed by a far-right town councilor and tasked to tackle street crime was sent to raid the offices and homes of people working for Austria's domestic intelligence agency - prompting German counterparts to review cooperation.


EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery

The EU-Turkey deal was agreed two years ago in Brussels. Focus has largely been on reducing migrant flows across the Mediterranean and helping Syrian refugees in Turkey, while the plight of those on the Greek islands are ignored.

Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair

US authorities have arrested the chair of the Maltese-registered Pilatus Bank for tax evasion. The bank facilitated political corruption in Malta but its whistleblower is now facing jail in Malta and fears for her life.

EU to probe UK 'election-rigging' firm

MEPs are to investigate whether UK firm Cambridge Analytica and Facebook misused private data to sway votes amid increasingly lurid revelations.


Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

News in Brief

  1. EU will be exempted from tariffs, says US minister
  2. Malmstroem: EU 'hopes' for US tariffs exemption
  3. Parliament must publish 'trilogue' documents, court says
  4. Italy's centre-right set to share top posts with 5-star movement
  5. Brussels condemns tear gas in Kosovo parliament
  6. Finland pays billionaire €400,000 in EU farm subsidies
  7. 44 leaders sign up for Africa free trade area deal
  8. British 'blue' passports to be made in EU

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EUobserverStart a Career in EU Media. Apply Now to Become Our Next Sales Associate
  2. EUobserverHiring - Finance Officer With Accounting Degree or Experience - Apply Now!
  3. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  4. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  5. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  6. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  7. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  8. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  9. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  10. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  11. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  12. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?

Latest News

  1. EU summit takes hard look at Russia
  2. Germany casts doubt on Austrian intelligence sharing
  3. EU leaders set for 'stormy debate' on digital tax at summit
  4. EU praises Turkey on migrant deal despite Greek misery
  5. Judicial reforms 'restore balance', Poland tells EU
  6. Whistleblower fears for life as US arrests Malta bank chair
  7. Behind the scenes at Monday's EU talks on Russia
  8. US yet to push on Nord Stream 2 sanctions