The EU’s ‘right to be forgotten’ ruling has created its first high profile casualty after a BBC blog post is earmarked to be made unsearchable in Google.
A seven-year-old article by the corporation's economics editor Robert Peston about chief executive Stanley O'Neal leaving investment bank Merrill Lynch will not appear in search results in Europe according to a message received by the BBC from the search giant.
The decision follows the landmark European court ruling in May that Google must listen and sometimes comply when people ask it to remove links to newspaper articles or websites containing personal information.
Blogging on the matter yesterday Peston conceded that the technology giant had opposed the court ruling, but accused Google of having "killed this example of my journalism".
The journalist said he did not know who had requested the removal of the story, entitled "Merrill's mess", from the search engine, declaring it "all a bit odd".
He said: "Maybe I am a victim of teething problems. It is only a few days since the ruling has been implemented – and Google tells me that since then it has received a staggering 50,000 requests for articles to be removed from European searches."
Speaking shortly after the ruling in May, Google spokesman Al Verney said it was ''disappointing ... for search engines and online publishers in general''.
Peston, who said he was "rather shocked" to be told that the article was being removed from search results, said that it was "completely possible" the complaint could have come from any of the readers who commented on the post or were named in the comments, rather than in the story itself.
But the journalist said it was still possible to find web pages Google had been asked to remove from European searches.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme this morning: "Because this only applies in Europe, because this is an EU ruling, if you put in google.com/ncr that basically means you are not searching the regional version of Google and even if you are in the UK you can still find anything. So it sort of makes a whole nonsense of the ruling, to be honest."