Last week Igniyte’s director Simon Wadsworth featured in the Irish Times in Netfix: cleaning up your reputation online, exploring the right to be forgotten.
Online Reputation Management Has Become More Popular in Light of Right to be Forgotten Ruling
Recently, the Irish Times featured an article exploring the popularity of online reputation management. Notably, this has surged since the establishment of the right to be forgotten.
In May this year, the European Court of Justice ruled that people have a right to be forgotten on search engines such as Google. What this means, is that in cases where information concerning them on Google is ‘outdated,’ and ‘irrelevant,’ they can request that Google remove links to said information. The only exception is where the information is in the public interest i.e. it refers to a politician, a criminal with an unspent conviction etc.
The Right to Be Forgotten is not as automatic as People Think it is
Since the ruling was handed down, people have seen it as carte blanch to get anything removed from the search engine. As the Irish Times explains, this is not the case.
There are two primary misconceptions users hold about the right to be forgotten. The first is that the actual content is deleted. It isn’t, rather the link to it in the search result is what is removed.
The second is over what constitutes ‘public interest,’ something Google have to determine on a case by case basis. These misconceptions essentially mean that users believe the right to be forgotten ruling allows them to remove more content, with greater scope, than it actually does.
People are Misunderstanding the Parameters of the Right to Be Forgotten
This has sparked a great amount of confusion over what and what cannot be achieved in relation to the right to be forgotten. Igniyte managing director Simon Wadsworth went on to explain that people have misunderstood its parameters.
“It’s been pretty chaotic,” Simon explained, “A lot of people mistakenly assume it applies to them and just latch on to this idea of, ‘I want to be deleted from Google. Can you do it for me?’ I’d say we’re only helping one out of every 10 or 15 people who contact us and we’re having to tell the rest, ‘Look, don’t waste your time and money because it’s just not going to happen’.”
The Right to Be Forgotten is not necessarily the Answer
What Simon’s trying to illustrate here is that the right to be forgotten isn’t an answer to all of your online reputation woes. It’s too narrow.
Rather, the best way to manage your online reputation is to rehabilitate page one on Google for your search term, through optimised blog posts, social media profiles and PR pieces. Effectively optimised, these digital assets provide you with a greater chance of clearing page one for your search term than the right to be forgotten in most cases.