Google has disclosed in its transparency report it released on Wednesday, Nov. 25, that it has received nearly 350,000 requests to wipe out 1.2 million links to web pages from its search engine results in light of Europe’s right to be forgotten rule.
The Mountain View-based company reveals that it obtained a total of 348,085 requests, which covers a total of 1,234,092 URLs, since May 29, 2014. The company says that it eliminated 42 percent URLs from the search engine results while 58 percent were kept.
The report includes examples of requests Google encountered, and these came from the United Kingdom, Belgium, Hungary, Poland, France, Austria, Latvia, Germany, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands.
Google also adds10 sites that have been mostly impacted by the removal of URLs from search results, specifying the actual numbers of URLs removed from search results. These include:
– facebook.com (10,220)
– profileengine.com (7,986)
– groups.google.com (6,764)
– youtube.com (5,364)
– badoo.com (4,428)
– plus.google.com (4,134)
– annuaire.118712.fr (3,430)
– twitter.com (3,879)
– wherevent.com (3,465)
– 192.com (3,083)
It’s worth mentioning, though, that the identified top 10 sites accounted for only nine percent of the total number of requests.
Way back in 2014, the top court of Europe ruled that people have the legal right to request search engines, including Google, to take out particular results about them.
The ruling, however, has caused worries among media and technology firms. In fact, in the U.K., a handful of newspapers have pushed out articles discussing the removing of links to stories. The U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office in August then ordered the company to take links to these articles out of the search engine results.
“Google Inc. staff make the relevant determinations. We have a team of specially trained reviewers for this purpose, based primarily in Dublin, Ireland,” says Google. “Our team uses dedicated escalation paths to senior staff and attorneys at Google to adjudicate on difficult and challenging cases.”
Google, however, does not explain why it takes out several links and retains others. Yet as The Wall Street Journal notes, Google adds a few indications in its report, suggesting that it looks at whether somebody is a private or public figure, whether humiliating happenings happened during an individual’s professional or private life, and whether Google views crimes to be minor or major.