Google Starts Removing Links From Search Results For European Users

The EU’s hotly contested “right to be forgotten” mandate took shape this week.

Google Starts Removing Links From Search Results For European Users
[Image: Flickr user Magdelena Roeseler]

This week, Google began removing links from its search results at the request of European users who claim the “right to be forgotten”–a legal protection that gives citizens of the European Union a chance to escape their pasts on the Internet.

The European Union’s recent controversial ruling on the right to be forgotten mandates that search engines will have to remove links–and links only–to specific pieces of content that users feel infringe on their privacy, whether they are embarrassing images on someone else’s blog or a newspaper article from 10 years ago.

Google has received more than 41,000 removal requests as of a month ago, when it first revealed the submission-form website. Fast Company has reached out to Google for more accurate numbers regarding how many submissions have been processed, and we will update this post when we hear back.

“This week, we’re starting to take action on the removals requests that we’ve received,” a Google spokesman told The Wall Street Journal. “This is a new process for us. Each request has to be assessed individually, and we’re working as quickly as possible to get through the queue.”

Combing through every submission form, one by one, highlights a daunting logistical challenge for Google that, interestingly, Americans might not be completely opposed to. According to a recent YouGov survey, 55% of Americans say they would support similar legislation in the United States.

About the author

Chris is a staff writer at Fast Company, where he covers business and tech. He has also written for The Week, TIME, Men's Journal, The Atlantic, and more.