A recent European court ruling means that people are now able to contact search engines and ask for links relating to them to be removed if they are outdated or incorrect. It has been dubbed the “right to be forgotten”, but Google launched and online form to make it easier for web users with complaints to get in touch. Now Microsoft is set to follow suit and create its own contact form.
In a statement, Microsoft said that there had been a delay to getting an online request system up and running, but that it is in the pipeline.
“Developing an appropriate system is taking us some time. We expect to launch a form through which users can make requests soon.”
Things are slightly more complicated for Microsoft than for Google because of the involvement of Yahoo. Yahoo makes use of Bing’s search results, and this means there is far more to consider in terms of bureaucracy and communication.
Microsoft has already received a number of requests from Bing users about links to information about them, but it is hoped that the introduction of the form will make things easier for people who have found content they are not happy with.
It is worth pointing out that the forms will not give people carte blanche to demand that pages they are no happy with are removed from the internet. Users would need to demonstrate that pages in question contain information that is “inadequate, irrelevant, or no longer relevant”. A successful request will not result in the removal of a page from a website, but it will prevent it from appearing in search results.
At the moment, the court ruling only has effect in Europe, so this means that searchers in the US, for example, will be able to see search results that have been removed from European searches.
How do you feel about this? Is it right that people should be able to ask for search results relating to them to be removed? What are the implications of having different results appearing in the same search engine in different parts of the world?