Google Settles UK “Defamation” Suit, Agreeing To Remove Malicious Links

By Greg Sterling

law-legal1-ss-1920

Google has long maintained it’s not responsible for third party content in its index. And that’s the law in the US. However increasingly in Europe authorities and individuals are seeking to make Google legally responsible for the content in its search results.

The latest example comes in the form of a legal settlement in a UK defamation action. Characterized as an “exceptional” case, Google agreed to remove malicious links that damaged the reputation of UK businessman Daniel Hegglin. The settlement terms weren’t disclosed but likely involve specific actions on Google’s part to remove the defamatory material.

Google may have been motivated to settle to avoid creating case law that would have imposed further burdens or responsibilities on the company for questionable or illegal content in its index.

Google does not appear to have been directly sued for defamation. However Hegglin sued a range of unknown others for defamation and damage to his reputation. He brought Google into the case on a related theory. The plaintiff had been labeled “a murderer, paedophile and Ku Klux Klan sympathiser by an unknown internet troll.”

The settlement was reported by the BBC. Search Engine Land columnist Chris Silver Smith was retained as an expert witness for the plaintiff in the case.

Google had been cooperating with Hegglin and his attorneys and had reportedly made “significant efforts” to remove the disputed links and material. It appears that the majority or all of the defamatory material was posted anonymously.

The case did not arise under the right-to-be-forgotten but was more straightforwardly as a reputation-defamation case.

As mentioned US law doesn’t hold search engines liable for content created by third parties that appear in search results. In the US Google will remove (and does remove) content found to be defamatory after there’s been a legal process adjudicating the question.

We’ve asked Google to comment …read more

Source:: SearchEngineLand

      

Better Results Start Here Call Now 231-680-0624
 Organic SEO
Rated 4.8/5 based on 38 reviews
Web Design Traverse City
Rated 4.8/5 based on 19 reviews
SEO
Rated 4.7/5 based on 36 reviews
SEO Companies
Rated 4.8/5 based on 29 reviews
Social Media
Rated 5.0/5 based on 12 reviews
Reputation Management
Rated 5.0/5 based on 16 reviews
Google Penalty Recovery
Rated 5.0/5 based on 9 reviews
Web Design
Rated 4.7/5 based on 47 reviews