This blog post by the BBC’s Robert Peston posts an interesting quandry for PRs. It relates to Google’s new obligation to remove search returns which are deemed to be “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant” following a request from a member of the public. It does’nt have to be the person featured within it. In Peston’s update he mentions that if you search for the name in his original piece the return still shows, suggesting it wasn’t him who wanted it removed.
This all follows a European Court of Justice ruling in May that Google must delete from its results when requested to do so, providing it meets the criteria above. Needs to be said that Google fought against this in the case.
As a PR person, this could be a way of protecting and defending the institution or leadership of the organisation you work for. And isn’t that what we often say we get paid for? (as well as promoting of course..)
Clearly the opportunity to have negative or unhelpful material removed from Google could be seen as a quick win, but as we have seen in this case, it’s bound to come back and haunt. Evidently, the best policy is try not to garner the negative headlines in the first place!