Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

The ironic hand of God - the need for a right to respond on the Internet

Posted by Tom Foremski - August 23, 2007

Earlier this year I wrote a post arguing that Google and other search engines should offer a link next to each result that offers a "right to respond." Because search engines will continually dredge up a post for ever, even if the original information is incorrect.

Even if a separate post corrects that error, if it isn't on that first page of search results individuals and companies, will have no way of clearing their names or correcting inaccurate information, because searchers rarely venture to second or third page results.

The Right to Respond Should be a Fundamental Right of the Internet

A few months ago I wrote a post about Google's hiring practices in its corporate communications team. A senior Google PR executive asked me to clarify a few points. I made the changes but he wanted more changes. Unfortunately his follow up email got lost in my inbox and I didn't see it for several months, and so I didn't make the changes.

In his email he wrote:

"I don't think the follow-up edit you posted is a sufficient recalibration of the reality in Google Communications. And leaving the original post out there simply leads the misperception to be repeated..and repeated."

He is right. If there was a "right to respond" available, and GOOG could easily offer such a service, then the problem would be solved.

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Please see:

The Right to Respond Should be a Fundamental Right of the Internet

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