Bing offers complainers a right to be forgotten from search results

Bing offers complainers a right to be forgotten

If you live in Europe and don't like the fact that Binging yourself throws up results you'd rather didn’t appear, Microsoft has created a form you can use to request removal of these links from searches. (Yeah, ok…Bing doesn't really work as a verb in the same way as Google. Lesson learned.) Not all that long ago, Google was forced to consider censoring search results that people considered to be out of date, incorrect or irrelevant -- it's a ruling that has been dubbed the right to be forgotten. A form was set up to make it easier for people with complaints to get in touch, and now Microsoft has followed suit and created a Request to Block Bing Search Results In Europe form.

Filling in the form is absolutely no guarantee that a search result will be removed -- and it is important to remember that this is only about removing links from search results, not removing actual content. Or, as Microsoft puts it in the form:

We encourage you to provide complete and relevant information for each applicable question on this form. We will use the information that you provide to evaluate your request. We may also consider other sources of information beyond this form to verify or supplement the information you provide. This information will help us to consider the balance between your individual privacy interest and the public interest in protecting free expression and the free availability of information, consistent with European law. As a result, making a request does not guarantee that a particular search result will be blocked.

If you have a complaint, you'll need to prove who you are and that you are an EU resident. Interestingly, the form also asks complainants "are you a public figure (politician, celebrity, etc.)?" and "Do you have a role or expect to have a role in your local community or more broadly that involves leadership, trust or safety". It's not clear how much of a bearing this information has on how a request is dealt with, but there are just four reasons a block request can be made: if information is inaccurate or false, it is incomplete or inadequate, it is out-of-date or no longer relevant, or it is excessive or otherwise inappropriate.

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