Do you want to have content removed from Google? If you live in the U.S., your options are far different than if you live in Europe. Being an informed consumer will help you avoid making costly mistakes. These are tips for becoming one.
Become familiar with the U.S. Communications Decency Act, the primary U.S. law governing the Internet. It frees website owners for liability regarding what is posted on their sites. This law determines whether Google can or will honor your request to remove content.
Google’s Official Site for Removal Requests
Google provides consumers with this site to report content they believe warrants removal from the Internet: Removing Content From Google. On that site, Google states that whether or not content will be removed is “based on applicable laws.” By that, Google means the Communications Decency Act. If the content is protected by that law, Google will not remove the material.
Chilling Effects is a U.S. clearinghouse website for information about Internet law and freedom of speech online. It is published by a collective of law schools, including Harvard. If you send a request to Google to remove content online, they may share it with Chilling Effects to contribute to the body of publicly available information on the topic. (This blog post provides an overview about Chilling Effects.)
Know Your Options in the Event of Defamatory Content
We recently published the article, What to Do When You Are the Victim of Online Defamation, written by New York City attorneys specializing in Internet law. It is a helpful guide.