A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about how Bing, unannounced, decided to change its policy regarding removing defamatory website URLs from its database.
It used to be that when a person or business was defamed online, Bing would remove the website containing the defamatory content from its search index if that person/business obtained a valid court order proclaiming the content defamatory and ordering it removed from Bing’s search index. Bing’s policy can be viewed on the following two websites:
“We do not remove resources containing allegedly defamatory content from our index without a court order indicating that a particular link has been found to be defamatory. When we do receive a valid court order, we remove those links from our index permanently.”
“We may remove displayed search results containing allegedly defamatory content. For example, we might remove a displayed search result if we receive a valid and narrow court order indicating that a particular link has been found to be defamatory.”
This approach, of course, makes sense, if a person or business goes through the trouble of suing the publisher of a particular piece of content and gets a court with jurisdiction to declare that the content is defamatory and illegal; the content should be removed from search engine results, because it’s false, defamatory, and illegal speech. The defamatory content destroys the integrity of information delivered by search engines. It’s less trustworthy.
However, as indicated in my prior blog post, Bing has apparently changed its policy and is no longer accepting court orders unless they have an obligation to under the law.
Since writing the past post, I’ve been getting phone calls and e-mails from dozens of individuals and attorneys who are livid about the new removal policy. These people have court orders which narrowly indicate certain websites with defamatory content that should be removed from. Many of the people I spoke with were having court orders rejected that Bing had previously accepted as valid in the past. All of these people were sent a message from Bing similar to the one I received and posted in my last blog post.
Seriously Bing, what gives? Why are you doing this?
Clearly, Bing has changed its policy. What its new policy is though is unclear. From the information I am receiving, Bing is currently denying all requests that it feels it doesn’t have a legal obligation to act on. If someone can shed light on this situation, please send me a message or leave a comment.
The ultimate takeaway from all of this is that Bing no longer delivers information that is as accurate and reliable as Google. Bing’s search results are no longer modified to exclude information that has been determined by a court of law to be false and defamatory.
I’m a bit surprised that a company like Microsoft has chosen to knowingly lower the integrity of its search results through its new policy. I guess they are changing it to the “If it’s on the internet, it must be true.”
Several of the attorneys and individuals that I have spoken with are considering legal action against Bing. Expect more blog posts if anything develops.
If you have questions about obtaining a court order to remove defamatory content from the Internet, call Aaron Minc at Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA. Obtaining a court order to remove content from the Internet is just one of the many proven ways that an experienced internet attorney can offer assistance with online defamation (at least with Google, for now). If you or your business is being victimized by damaging material on the internet, do not hesitate to call the experienced internet attorneys at the law firm of Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA to discuss all available solutions that may be available. Fill out this form, or contact us at 216 373-7706.