Google is the largest and most dominant search engine in the United States and in many foreign nations. In fact, a February 2016 Com Score report found that Google held nearly 64% of the U.S. desktop search engine market.
This market share dwarfs its second-largest competitor, Microsoft (Bing), which holds only approximately 20% of the market. In the mobile search space, Google’s dominance is even more pronounced. In the mobile space where Google’s market share is buttressed by its Android operating system, the company’s mobile search market share is likely much greater. Globally, Google accounts for almost 90 percent of the search market.
It is no surprise that people who are defamed online discover the defamation through a Google search on their own name. In other cases a family member, friend, or colleague may stumble across the search results. Thus, many people wish to tackle the problem at the location where most people discover the results: on Google.
While there are many strategies to address and remove defamatory materials from the Internet, addressing the matter at the search engine level can reduce the impact of online defamation.
If you are facing the damaging consequences of Internet defamation, the experienced Internet defamation removal lawyers of Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis LPA can fight to remove the offending content from search results. To schedule a free initial legal consultation call (216) 373-7706 or schedule a meeting online.
Is a Search Result’s Removal From Google Contingent Upon a Valid Court Order?
Many people believe that the only way to remove content from search engine results is to obtain a valid court order. While obtaining a court order is one way an individual can get content de-indexed from a search engine like Google, it is not the only means.
In any case, search engine providers will not concede to a removal request unless it meets certain criteria or falls under certain types of abuse. A person asking a search engine to remove content will have to build evidence and essentially a case to show why there is a valid reason for the search results removal. Valid reasons to support a removal may include:
- The site contains malware or is a phishing scheme – Google takes sites that try to leverage defamatory personal attacks to encourage others to spread a page infected with malware or engaging in a phishing or extortion scheme seriously. It may remove the result if the defamation was intended to drive traffic to a page that Google considers malicious.
- Violation of intellectual property rights –Google is sometimes responsive If a site has violated a trademark, copyright, or has otherwise used your protected intellectual property without authorization. But many times it will only take action after a finding by a neutral arbitrator or after receiving a valid court order. Typically valid Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) filing is required, however parties should proceed cautiously when taking any legal action.
- Posting of certain personally identifying information – Google will remove the posting of certain unique personal and financial information from search results including Social Security numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, images of one’s signature and sexually explicit photos posted without one’s permission. However, you must be able to satisfy Google’s criteria for the removal. Google will not remove your name, birthday and certain other types of personal information.
- Illegal content – If photos were posted of an individual that are considered child pornography, Google will remove these results provided that you are able to meet the required criteria and work through appropriate law enforcement and legal options.
- You have a valid court order against a website– Google will often voluntarily consent to the removal of search results on the basis of a court order against a third-party. However, they state that submitting a request due to a court order against a third-party “does not guarantee that any action will be taken on your request.”
While individuals have a number of options to address the search result returned for a defamatory page or web site, there is a considerable amount of nuance and strategic planning that goes into such actions.
Additionally, it is always best to try and remove content not only from Google, but at its source. Although removing something from search results can be the next best thing, there is always a risk the information can be found or duplicated and posted again in the future.
Rely on our Internet Determination Removal Experience When Attempting to Delete a Search Result
Google is the first and most frequently visited page to start a search online. In many ways it serves as, essentially, a global information clearinghouse. Therefore, a viable strategy to address a defamatory page, posting, or website is to prevent people from ever finding it.
The experienced Internet defamation removal lawyers of Meyers Roman Friedberg & Lewis, LPA can work to remove Google search results that direct visitors to a defamatory or malicious page. If we are unable to remove the offending search result, we guarantee your money back. To schedule a free and confidential consultation call our firm at (216) 373-7706 or schedule a meeting online.