How the Right to Be Forgotten Turned into a Pointless Media Censorship Tool

Plenty of sites are getting their links dumped from European Google versions

By on July 3rd, 2014 09:52 GMT

The Right to Be Forgotten may sound like a good idea to some, but for others it’s a nightmare because what the entire process boils down to is media censorship.

The vast majority of links that people in Europe are demanding Google to remove from its search engine are links to media articles, which means that plenty of news articles are getting cut out from the search results.

The biggest issue is actually the fact that this entire effort is meaningless. Sure, the links will no longer show up in the search results pages, but that does not make them disappear from the Internet. They are very much still online and can be found by using either alternative search engines that have yet to comply or the news sources’ web pages, or even alternative search queries because Google only takes down links on pages returning queries based on someone’s name.

The easiest option is to use Google.com rather than the localized European version of Google, that you may or may not use.

Just because something or another is no longer present on Google, it does not mean it ceases to exist. It just makes it slightly more difficult to locate, which is apparently the entire purpose of this.

Asking a media organization to take down a news article, on the other hand, is considered to be censorship, and taking down links that facilitate user access to it should be seen as the same.

In fact, news organizations don’t normally take down content that’s been published unless there’s a really good reason or someone comes up with a court order, all that being part of the freedom of the press concept.

BBC, the Guardian, the Daily Mail, and other news publications have already received notifications from Google telling them that some of their stories have been taken down. These cover a range of topics, such as someone telling a lie, someone being falsely accused of fraud or discrimination accusations.

While the individual who made the request certainly got a notification, so did the news outlets that were affected by the changes.

"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," reads Google’s warning.

Autoevolution, a sister site of Softpedia, was also informed of having some links removed due to the same issues. 

The notice we received from Google
The notice we received from Google

At the same time, when you happen to search for a certain individual, you’ll notice Google has added a notice on those pages as well, stating that some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe.

Basically, Google is telling everyone that they’ve removed some link or another about a certain individual and this should only help make everyone that much more curious and have them look through other means to see whatever content that individual wanted hidden, which is quite ironic.

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