Matt Cutts wrote an interesting blog post the other day. It caught my eye because of some of the recent controversy over the permanence of stuff on the web (Facebook, plus a site I am involved with that is a knowledge sharing site).
Matt stated he gets a lot of queries about bad pages people find about themselves on the internet, along with requests for information on how to go about getting such pages removed. He finally decided to blog about it, so the information on why Google doesn’t yank pages on request will be out there for all who are interested. Here is Matt’s response to all of those who are ticked because somebody dissed them online:
Unfortunately there’s not much I can do. The page you pointed out is not spam, and pretty much the only removals (at least in the U.S., which is what I know about) that we do for legal reasons are if a court orders us. We typically say that if person A doesn’t like a webpage B, only removing page B out of Google’s search results doesn’t do any good because webpage B is still there (e.g. it can be found by going to it directly or through other search engines). In that sense, the presence of that page in Google’s index is just reflecting the fact that the page exists on the wider web.
The best actions for you from our perspective can be one of a couple options. Either contact whoever put up webpage B and convince them to modify or to take the page down. Or if the page is doing something against the law, get a court to agree with you and force webpage B to be removed or changed. We really don’t want to be taking sides in a he-said/she-said dispute, so that’s why we typically say “Get the page fixed, changed, or removed on the web and then Google will update our index with those changes the next time that we crawl that page.” Our policies outside the U.S. might be different; I’m not as familiar with how legal stuff works outside the U.S.
That’s all he wrote, folks. If you have a problem, you’ll have to take it to the person who posted the defamatory page. Google isn’t in the position to help you! Matt says it in a clear-cut way that is typical of his blog, which you should definitely check out and add to your RSS feed.