Will Google Remove Defamation?

As far as  I know Google will not remove defamation or slanderous comments that appear in the search results, unless a court orders them to do so.

Any such comments would have been written by a third party, so Google would be immune from liability, please see the Communications Act Section 230 C:

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provide

Obviously the internet is huge, many billions of pages, so it’s not possible for them to check every page to see if it contains defamatory material.

Defamation is something that has to be proven in a court, it can be a lengthy and often costly approach. There is a thin line between opinion and slander, hence why Google doesn’t usually get involved. They are not liable for the content which appears on third party sites or the snippets of text they create in the search engine result pages.

If you want to get a search result removed then you really need to contact the site where the text is located and ask the webmaster/admin/site owner to remove it. You can then either wait for Google to update the search results automatically or expedite that removal with this tool.

Other Options

You could try one of these options:

  1. Engage in Online Reputation Management
  2. Get a court order requesting the site remove the defamatory material
  3. Send a legal request to Google via this form.

1) Online Reputation Management

This is the process of creating content on the web that will “crowd out” any defamatory or unpleasant search results.

Imagine a business owner who sees a bad review pop up in Google. Rather than taking legal action for possible defamation the business owner could ask his other clients to leave a review or two on this and several other websites. Chances are these would be just as visible in Google as the offensive review.

One could also go a step further and create several different types of content that will appear in the search results:

  1. A website
  2. A sub-domain on the website
  3. A blog
  4. Press release
  5. Facebook page
  6. Forum or blog comments
  7. Register the business in online directories
  8. Google Places (aka local business directory)

These are techniques that are often deployed by professional reputation management companies.

2) Get a Court Order

Getting a court order stating that comments are indeed defamatory shouldn’t be too difficult if that really is the case. The hardest part might be enforcing the court order, particularly if the website is hosted in a another country.

Fortunately you can submit your court order directly to Google and they will consider disabling access to the defamation.

3) Send a Legal Request to Google

Whilst Google has immunity from prosecution under the Communications Act Section 230C, they will consider legal requests to take down illegal material from the search results.

You need to state clearly which specific laws have been broken and provide evidence to that effect.

Here is the form.



5 Responses to Will Google Remove Defamation?

  1. George Dixon December 6, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    Website violates my mandatory rights I’m am innocent and this person has been ruin my name for the past 8 months please removed this slander ASAP it has ruin my life and destroyed my small business

  2. po January 5, 2013 at 6:06 am #

    Excellent website!

  3. Linda Ducalo January 7, 2013 at 5:10 am #

    Slanderous remarks have been posted on this website which are incriminiting and embarrassing to our family.I have been abused by a man who knocked me unconscious and now he is harassing my family.This man was incarcerated.The state prosecutor has been notified as well as the police in Florida.What else can we do before we start receiving possible death threats?

  4. Kenneth Kessel April 30, 2013 at 1:19 am #

    I own a Social Media Marketing Company that handles Reputation Management for several clients. And to be honest some info no matter how hard you try just cant be moved!

  5. Bhagwan Ahuja January 17, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

    Although in compliance with my notice through google, anonymous perpetrator has posted a line “The comment has been removed by the Author” below the defamatory remarks posted against me at google website but google has neither removed the remarks nor disclosed the identity of the perpetrator without which a law suit against the perpetrator is not possible. A certified “return receipt requested” legal notice was served on google and google wants court’s restraint in this regard. When the Author has posted the remarks as stated above for the public as “the comment has been removed by the Author”, why is it difficult for google to remove such defamatory remarks when google incurs no risk in doing so.