Facebook Top Site For Google Link Removals

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Facebook is the single site most affected by ‘right to be forgotten’ requests, with YouTube and Twitter also featuring in the top 10

Google has reviewed 348,085 requests to remove information from its search engine under European “right to be forgotten” laws, covering a total of 1.2 million URLs, and has complied with about 42 percent of them, the search leader reported this week.

Requests from the UK have to date amounted to a total of 43,150 involving 162,559 links, and Google said it has complied with 38.1 percent.

Social media

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Overall, the requests have concentrated on social media and personal data profiling websites, with the largest single site affected being Facebook, Google said in its twice-annual Transparency Report.

The proportion of requests granted remains roughly constant with Google’s last report, from July, when the company also said it had approved under half of a total of 280,000 requests.

Facebook accounted for 10,229 of the links removed, with Profile Engine following at 7,997 links. Google Groups, YouTube, Twitter and 192.com also featured in the top 10.

However, the sites in the top 10 only accounted for 9 percent of the total URL removal requests, Google said, indicating that the requests cover a broad spectrum of sites across the Internet.

Personal data

Google provided a few examples of how it has handled specific requests, saying it didn’t remove links to articles reporting embarrassing statements made by a British “media professional”, but did remove links to a personal photo from searches for an Italian woman’s name.

Google has vocally opposed the EU’s requirement that it remove links to inaccurate or outdated information if requested to do so, arguing the law works against the public’s “right to know”.

However, the company said that to date 95 percent of the requests concerned “private or personal information”, and not information related to public figures or significant events.

Google has also to date resisted EU pressure to remove the links involved from non-EU versions of its search site.

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