Google Examined 1.2 Million Links for Removal in Europe

  • Facebook, YouTube, Twitter top right-to-be-forgotten lists
  • Company has deleted links for 40 percent of requested websites

Google has evaluated more than 1.2 million websites for potential removal from its search engine since a court in Europe ruled last year that European Union citizens have the right to delete personal information from the Internet.

The flow of right-to-be-forgotten requests appear to have slowed after they ramped up in mid-2014, when Google dealt with 70,000 requests involving the removal of some 250,000 Web links in the first five weeks of offering an online tool to handle applications.

The European Union’s ruling gives European residents and citizens a mechanism to ask search engines to hide links to pages that contain information they consider damaging and whose continued publication doesn’t serve the public interest. The Alphabet Inc. subsidiary said Wednesday that it has received around 350,000 requests to delete 1.2 million addresses since May 29, 2014.

Google has removed around 42 percent of all Web addresses it has been asked to look at, the Mountain View, California-based company said.

Ten websites account for 9 percent of the links that people are asking to be removed, Google said. The search provider has removed more than 10,000 links pointing to pages hosted by Facebook Inc., the world’s largest social network, and 5,364 links to YouTube pages, according to Google. Other websites include Twitter Inc., and Google+.

Since coming into force, the ruling has caused concern among both technology and media companies. In the U.K., some newspapers have opted to write articles that cover the removal of links to stories. In turn, Google was ordered by the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office to remove links to some of these stories, the Telegraph reported in August.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.