Google deleted the listing of a BBC blog post documenting the ousting of former Merrill Lynch CEO Stan O’Neal, and the writer, BBC economics editor Robert Peston, is none-too-pleased.
It’s all because a European court upheld one man’s “right to be forgotten.” Mario Coteja Gonzalez sued Google because he wanted the 1998 auction of his foreclosed home taken down citing it as “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant”. A few days ago, he won his suit.
Now — at question here is whether or not the firing of a CEO of a major international company could ever be called “irrelevant.”
Peston, for one, does not think it can. In another post for the BBC he writes:
Most people would argue that it is highly relevant for the track record, good or bad, of a business leader to remain on the public record – especially someone widely seen as having played an important role in the worst financial crisis in living memory (Merrill went to the brink of collapse the following year, and was rescued by Bank of America)…
So there is an argument that in removing the blog, Google is confirming the fears of many in the industry that the “right to be forgotten” will be abused to curb freedom of expression and to suppress legitimate journalism that is in the public interest.
To be fair to Google, it opposed the European court ruling.
But its implementation of it looks odd, perhaps clumsy.
Peston went on to say that Google has received around 5,000 requests for articles to be taken down, and that the BBC has reached out to Google.