Google has settled a defamation suit in the UK, which was filed in response to content Google simply indexed in its search results. The settlement is noteworthy as historically Google has not claimed responsibility for the content in its results. It is, after all, just pointing to websites.
Things have gotten trickier on that front in Europe, however, since the recent “right to be forgotten” ruling, which has forced Google to yank results based on requests and other criteria it has set, and is still trying to map out.
This particular case actually isn’t directly related to that, but it’s certainly in the same ballpark, and further highlights how Google is treating this issue differently in Europe, even if it has no choice in some cases.
The settlement (via Search Engine Land/BBC) was with Daniel Hegglin, a UK businessman, who had been called a murderer, a pedophile, and a KKK sympathizer by an alleged troll. He didn’t specifically target Google in the suit, but the company was brought into the case.
Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Google said in a statement that it reached a “mutually acceptable agreement.”
In all likelihood, this specific example of result removal is probably more tolerable by the search giant compared to the burden of the whole right to be forgotten mess. That is, by the way, getting even messier, as there’s talk that Google may have to get rid of these results throughout its global network of search engines. What once may have only had to be removed from one country’s version of Google may have to be removed from all of Google.
Image via Google