Fraud, sex, post-it art: Google cuts search links

BRUSSELS – Google’s removal of search results in Europe is drawing accusations of press censorship, as stories from some of the continent’s most prominent news outlets begin vanishing. The U.S. internet giant said Thursday it is getting 1,000 requests a day to scrub results.

The U.S. firm must comply with a May ruling from the European Union’s top court that enables citizens to ask for the removal of embarrassing personal information that pops up on a search of their names. Among links to vanish were stories on a soccer referee who resigned after a scandal in 2010, French office workers making post-it art, a couple having sex on a train and a lawyer facing a fraud trial.

At least three British media outlets, including the Guardian newspaper and public broadcaster BBC, said Google notified them search results in Europe would not contain some links to their publications.

BBC Economics Editor Robert Peston said the removal of his 2007 blog post, which was critical of Merrill Lynch’s then-CEO Stan O’Neal, means “to all intents and purposes the article has been removed from the public record, given that Google is the route to information and stories for most people.”