France Convicts Google Over Search Suggestions

Sep 28, 2010 • 8:35 am | comments (2) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google News & Finances
 

Google was convicted, as was the CEO, in France for defamation of the search suggestions. In short, a guy named MX sued Google for the search suggestions showing his name when you searched for rapist or satanist amongst other searches. MX was convicted of corruption of a minor, which he is now appealing.

So he sued Google over the search suggestions showing his name for the conviction type of keyword. Google of course said the search suggestions are automated and only show from a "database of search labels most frequently used by the Internet." So it is what people are searching for and writing on - and thus they should not be blamed.

The High Court of Paris felt otherwise and convicted Google and the CEO. Google said they are appealing. If you try to do those searches on Google France today, nothing will come up for this guys name.

Personally, I am shocked Google would be responsible, especially in a case of a convicted individual. All this may lead to for the convict is the suggestion being pulled from Google France but possibly showing up in other countries. Which may be fine for him.

Not everyone agrees with me. A WebmasterWorld thread has some people saying:

I 100% agree with this ruling.

And again it's the French who have the guts to show Google some limits.

Vive la France!

I 100% agree with this ruling.

I've seen some pretty horrific suggestions since all this started, especially when it comes to name and company searches. When they first released that function, I did some tests, you can influence the suggestions greatly with the right content and links.

Do you agree?

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld and Google Blogoscoped Forums.

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Comments:

Robert

09/30/2010 06:11 am

I don't know how Google can be held responsible for this one. Isn't that similar to holding them responsible for what publishers post or what people may be discussing at home? Next point would be where do you draw the line and no longer allow things to be associated with each other. Sounds an awful lot like the proposed Media Tribunal here in South Africa. I'm far from being a Google fan, but I certainly wouldn't hold them responsible for what people are searching... and what subsequently becomes a trend and suggestion.

Martin Groenhof

03/07/2011 04:06 pm

It's like when you search for 'holocaust didn' and you get suggested 'holocaust didn't happen' should Google be charged with holocaust denial too ? crazy!

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