Great Google News Cover Up Or New Way To Tell Old News?


Google has had to inform quite a few news organisations that certain old news stories will no longer be found in Google’s search engine results. One particular story that seems to be high on the list of stories that are being taken off concerns Scottish football and a refereeing scandal that happened around four years ago.

It all surrounds the ‘right to be forgotten‘ ruling. The EU (European Union) ruling means Google must delete “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” data from their results when a member of the public requests it.

Whether or not the subject of these articles on STV, Daily Record or the Guardian, was the individual who requested the removal remains unclear.

Now I am not a fan of the ruling. Who’s the person who decides on what is still relevant news? News obviously contains the word ‘new’ in it but old news is great in terms of research and a useful tool to learn from. The stories could also be precedents and might once again be relevant in a few years time when something similar happens again.

Look at our libraries and museums that collected every edition of local newspapers for decades, sometimes centuries. Those papers continue to help journalists, bloggers and historians. In this day and age we have the internet. King of finding our information is Google. Supposedly Google handles up to 90% of online searches in Europe. So I believe we shouldn’t censor that data unless those stories contain illegal or vicious material.

But it’s not all bad.

The ruling itself is very flawed. The subjects make a complaint and having searches taken off the web, Google then has to go to the news organisations and inform them of the decision. Really all that does, is make the story news again and relevant once more. The news sites then have a moan about the ruling, go over the original story once more and then end with a nice link to the original article once again. All this is done with plenty of mentions to Google, nothing wrong with plenty of free advertising. Oh and don’t forget that the new stories based on the old ‘forgotten’ ones will now appear on Google too.

The biggest flaw is that the ruling only concerns Google’s European search engines. Now when you go onto these pages, down on the bottom right hand side of the screen you’ll find a button linking you to where you can search for all those banned stories.

Now the EU have come out and have complained that Google have been reckless and accuse the large global internet company of ‘deliberately misinterpreting’ the ruling. They believe the reason for doing that is to start a political campaign and stir up a storm with the media. They’ve probably hit the nail on the head but that stems from the fact that the ruling was rubbish in the first place and a form of censorship, which in my opinion Europe doesn’t need.

I am not a fan of Google, especially when it comes to them paying (or not paying) certain taxes but on this issue I fully support them in their quest to share information whether it’s deemed relevant or not by EU bigwigs. Hopefully the European Union can see that they’ve scored a bit of an own goal here and can rectify it.

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