Could Facebook and Twitter be forced to “forget” things said about others? Perhaps so under the European Union’s new “Right To Be Forgotten” ruling.
Until now, the focus has mainly been on Google, but a Wall Street Journal article suggests regulators are starting to consider how to apply the ruling to other digital companies. The Journal reports that today in Brussels, privacy officials from the EU’s 28 member states are gathering to plan how to coordinate implementation so that there aren’t 28 different processes to deal with.
Google is still priority one. “We want come up with some guidelines for Europe,” Isabelle Falque-Pierrotin, head of France’s privacy watchdog, told the Journal. “We have to think in detail about questions that Google itself acknowledges aren’t easy.”
But there’s nothing Google-specific in the ruling — it requires search engines with a sales presence in Europe to consider link removal requests — and the Journal reported that a privacy official said the group would be looking beyond the search giant, in particular at “the removal of searchable links posted by users of Twitter.” And if Twitter search is a potential target, so might be Facebook search.
Bing and Yahoo will certainly come under scrutiny. At question is whether Facebook and Twitter and other social media networks that provide users with search-engine-like tools, will be caught in the net.
So far neither company has commented publicly. We’ve reached out to their respective PR teams and will update the post if they respond.