Categories: Regulation

Yahoo, Bing Begin ‘Forgetting’ Links

Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing search engine have confirmed that have now joined Google in complying with “right to be forgotten” requests.

As a result of a May ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, search engines are obliged to remove information that is “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” if requested to do so.

Link removal

The ruling was the result of a lawsuit against Google by a Spanish man, and Google began to remove links in June. Bing published a removal request form in July and has now begun removing links, the company confirmed.

“We’ve begun processing requests as a result of the court’s ruling and in accordance with the guidance from European data protection authorities,” Microsoft stated, adding it is still “refining” the process with the aim of striking “a satisfactory balance between individual privacy interests and the public’s interest in free expression”.

Yahoo said it, too, has now begun removing links.

“We will carefully evaluate each request with the goal of balancing the individual’s right to privacy with considerations of the public’s right to information,” the company said.

Social media content

Reputation VIP, a French company that helps users submit requests, said the company has submitted 699 demands to Bing on behalf of users since late July, representing 2,362 URLs.

Bing denied 79 of the requests, according to Reputation VIP, and in 77 of the cases this was because the links were to social-media content. In these cases, Bing suggested it would be more effective to use removal tools provided by the social-media companies themselves to remove the content.

Google has done all it can to keep the “right to be forgotten” issue from being forgotten, notifying publishers when links are removed from search results and holding a series of public meetings on the subject.

The company said it has removed more than 208,000 links from results, out of more than 602,000 requests, rejecting 294,500 requests.

Removals currently only take place on European versions of search results, but European regulators are expected to tell Google and other search engines to extend the process outside of Europe.

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Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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