Paradigm shift: Has Google suspended defamation removals?
Columnist Chris Silver Smith takes a look at what could be a recent policy shift in Google's longstanding informal policy of granting court-ordered defamation removal requests.
A number of attorneys who specialize in online defamation/libel cases have reported to me that Google has recently suspended its longstanding, informal policy of removing URLs from US search results that are specified in duly executed court orders. This poses a major paradigm shift for many victims of online reputation attacks.
Beginning around August or September of this year, a number of attorneys from across the US began receiving blanket denials after submitting requests to remove defamatory content from Google’s search results.
Since at least 2009, Google has had an informal policy of accepting many removal requests when accompanied by a properly executed court order specifying defamatory/libelous content at specific URLs. I’ve personally seen a number of cases where hundreds and even thousands of URLs have been submitted with court orders, and Google has removed those URLs from search results.
But they’ve now stopped. Not for every single request, but for a sufficient number that it’s clear something has changed.