Robert Peston tells how his seven-year-old BBC blog is to be made unsearchable on Google following 'right to be forgotten' ruling - Press Gazette

Robert Peston tells how his seven-year-old BBC blog is to be made unsearchable on Google following 'right to be forgotten' ruling

The BBC's Robert Peston has told how one of his blog posts from nearly seven years ago is set to be made unsearchable on Google as a result of the "right to be forgotten" ruling.

The corporation's economics editor last night asked why he was being "cast into oblivion" by the search engine after the BBC received an alert saying the 2007 blog about chief executive Stanley O'Neal leaving investment bank Merrill Lynch would not appear in Google searches in Europe.

A landmark European court decision in May said Google must listen and sometimes comply when individuals ask it to remove links to newspaper articles or websites containing personal information.

The ''right to be forgotten'' is based on the premise that outdated information about people should be removed from the internet after a certain time.

Blogging on the matter yesterday, under the headline 'Why has Google cast me into oblivion?', Peston accused Google of having "killed this example of my journalism", but conceded that the technology giant had opposed the court ruling. 

The latest blog, which links to the 2007 article, was last night shared on Peston's Twitter feed and retweeted more than 500 times.

The journalist said he did not know who had requested the removal of the story, entitled "Merrill's mess", from the search engine, declaring it "all a bit odd".

He said: "Maybe I am a victim of teething problems. It is only a few days since the ruling has been implemented – and Google tells me that since then it has received a staggering 50,000 requests for articles to be removed from European searches."

Speaking shortly after the ruling in May, Google spokesman Al Verney said it was ''disappointing … for search engines and online publishers in general''.

Peston, who said he was "rather shocked" to be told that the article was being removed from search results, said that it was "completely possible" the complaint could have come from any of the readers who commented on the post or were named in the comments, rather than in the story itself.

But the journalist said it was still possible to find web pages Google had been asked to remove from European searches.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "Because this only applies in Europe, because this is an EU ruling, if you put in that basically means you are not searching the regional version of Google and even if you are in the UK you can still find anything.

"So it sort of makes a whole nonsense of the ruling, to be honest."



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