Transparency and accountability for the “right to be forgotten”

Since the Court of Justice of the European Union ruling on May 13, which established a “right to be forgotten” in search results, we’ve received a significant number of requests from Europeans to remove information about them from search results. Today, we’re releasing statistics about these removals in our Transparency Report.

We believe it’s important to be transparent about how much information we’re removing from search results while being respectful of individuals who have made requests. Releasing this information to the public helps hold us accountable for our process and implementation.

You can dig into the details on the Transparency Report, but we wanted to share some highlights from the stats here. Since our request form went live on May 29, we’ve received more than 142,000 requests to remove links to more than 490,000 web pages from Google Search results.

We’ve received the most removal requests from France, Germany, the UK, Spain, and Italy respectively. We’re also providing some data about the domains that appear most frequently in URLs that individuals ask us to remove. Among these top 10 domains are Facebook, Badoo, and two Google-owned and operated sites, YouTube and Google Groups — both of which have their own mechanisms to request removal of content directly from the platform.

To give you an idea of the range of requests we’ve received and the kinds of decisions we’ve had to make, we’ve included some examples of real requests we’ve received from individuals. These are anonymised so that they don’t include information that would identify individuals.

We hope to find ways to share even more information about about the impact of “the right to be forgotten” in the near future, and continue to work on updating other sections to make them easier to use and more interesting to explore.