Google has published data that reveals how many search results it has removed in response to European citizens’ requests, after an EU court granted them the ‘right to be forgotten’ last May.
The ruling stated that Google must act on users’ requests to remove ‘irrelevant’ and ‘outdated’ links in searches for their names. The company began reviewing requests last June.
To date, it has received 348,085 requests and evaluated more than 1.2 million links for removal. Of those, it has removed 441,032 URLs. Google opted not to remove 608,169 more URLs; the rest are pending review or require additional information.
The top 10 sites Google removed links from represent nine percent of all the requests it received. Facebook tops the list at a little over 10,000 URLs removed, followed by Profile Engine with nearly 8,000 URLs. The site crawls Facebook to help users find people and had a search deal with the social network, which expired in 2010.
Google Groups, YouTube, Google+ and Twitter also feature on the list with a few thousand removed links each.
Google’s link removal only affects search results on its European sites. It was ordered by EU watchdogs as well as a French regulatory body to apply the right to be forgotten across its global sites, but Google has resisted the requests so far.
In July, a consumer advocacy group in the US wrote to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to have the agency investigate why Google hasn’t extended this option to users in the country — but nothing has come of it as yet.
You can find more information about Google’s link removal efforts, including a countrywise break-up of URLs removed, on this page.
➤ European privacy requests for search removals [Google Transparency Report]