July 2, 2014

The Guardian

Google.co.uk users no longer see key Guardian articles if they search for information about Dougie McDonald, a referee who retired after a report said he lied about why he reversed a penalty.

“No one has suggested the stories weren’t true, fair or accurate,” James Ball writes. “But still they are made hard for anyone to find.” The Guardian got “an automated notification that six Guardian articles have been scrubbed from search results,” Ball writes.

The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled in May that Google must remove links to articles that are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant.” Individuals may petition for the removal of results.

Anyone in the U.S. searching “Dougie McDonald Guardian” would see the Guardian articles, Ball writes. (While researching this post, I also found some interesting edits to his Wikipedia page: For example, a user named “Realreffacts” changed the page to read McDonald retired “as media pressure on him became unwarranted.”)

Ball didn’t ask McDonald whether he asked for his results to be changed. I left a message Wednesday at his office in Glasgow, Scotland, which told me he’d left for the day.

Google has given European users a workaround, Ball writes: “If you go to the Google homepage, and look in the bottom right-hand corner, you’ll see a link saying ‘Use Google.com’. Do that – or switch to another search engine, such as DuckDuckGo, which has no EU footprint and also doesn’t track cookies – and for now, you’ll see the full unfiltered results.”

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Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City…
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