Bing begins assessing right to be forgotten

By James Riches topicIcon SEO

Bing users can request removal of search results

Microsoft search engine Bing has unveiled its new 'right to be forgotten' request form, which European users can complete to try and get certain search results relating to them removed.

They must state exactly why they want to block certain results, and can cite four reasons for their request. They can claim content is:

  • Inaccurate or false
  • Incomplete or inadequate
  • Out of date or no longer relevant
  • Excessive or otherwise inappropriate

In an effort to ensure each enquiry can be properly assessed, Bing also requires that users declare if they are a public figure (e.g. politician) or hold a prominent role in their local community.

Bing also attempted to explain how it will decide whether or not to grant requests, saying:

"This information will help us to consider the balance between your individual privacy interest and the public interest in protecting free expression and the free availability of information, consistent with European law. As a result, making a request does not guarantee that a particular search result will be blocked."

Bing hoping for an easier experience than Google

Bing's move comes seven weeks after Google introduced its own form allowing it to individually assess requests. The 'right to be forgotten' debate has been in the headlines after a Spanish man, Mario Costeja Gonzalez, won the right to have results related to the repossession of his house in 1998 removed when searching his name.

He argued that this information was no longer relevant and therefore should no longer be shown by Google. His five-year battle meant that two links to news stories were removed from search results, although the content itself still exists.

However, Google has since come under scrutiny for the way it deals with these requests, after publications such as the Guardian reported that their articles were disappearing from SERPs following 'right to be forgotten' requests from their subjects.

Google has suggested it will take time to adjust to the new ruling and apply it fairly.

Carla Fazakerley, head of SEO at theEword, said: "Bing had to comply with this ruling sooner or later, and it is likely that they have been watching Google closely in an effort to learn from the issues 'right to be forgotten' has caused so far."