Google sparks BBC criticism after removing search results

Results related to BBC article that was critical of Merrill Lynch

The BBC is unhappy after Google removed search results relating to one of its articles Photo: PA

The BBC is unhappy after Google removed search results relating to one of its articles Photo: PA

Thu, Jul 3, 2014, 15:54

Google’s decision to remove some search results leading to a BBC 2007 article about Merrill Lynch has drawn criticism from the media group. Google alerted BBC economics editor Robert Peston that it would no longer show certain search outcomes linking to his post entitled “Merrill’s mess”, Mr Peston said on his BBC blog yesterday. The decision followed a May ruling by the European Court of Justice that allows members of the public to request “inadequate, irrelevant, no longer relevant, or excessive” data be deleted from Google searches.

“We’re surprised that this is the outcome of the ECJ ruling and concerned at the implications of the removal from search of this type of material,” the BBC said in a statement today.

Google didn’t tell Mr Peston who requested the removal, he said in his blog. Because the item can still be found on Google using some other combinations of word searches, the implication is that the request may have come from a commentator, he wrote.

“We’ve recently started taking action on the removals request,” Google said in a statement. “It’s a new and evolving process for us and we’ll continue to listen to feedback and we’ll also work with data protection authorities and others as we comply with the ruling.”

The BBC story was critical of Merrill Lynch, saying the investment bank was acting as a risk taker rather than an agent or broker. Merrill’s board, in negotiating chairman Stan O’Neal’s departure, was trying to “preserve the integrity of a giant, money-making collective,” according to the blog.

Bloomberg