November 4, 2011

Google removes review calling man a pedophile and thief

11-4-2011 United Kingdom:

Toni Bennett read the review on Google Places about his computer business. And then he read it again. And again. And he still couldn't believe it: An alleged customer named "Paul" posted these comments:

"Robbed My RAM and Touched 9 Year Old What a scam artist, he stole RAM from my computer and replaced it with smaller chips hoping I wouldnt notice and also I later found out touched my 9 year old inappropriately. A Violator and a rogue trader. DO NOT DO TRADE WITH THIS MAN!"
Eighteen months later, the comments are no longer there. Google recently agreed to remove them, Bennett told the BBC. And it wasn't a moment too soon: the IT consultant from Bridgnorth, in Shropshire County, England, was on the verge of suing the search giant for defamation after repeated, failed efforts to have the comments removed.

Bennett even went to the police for help, "but he said that while they acknowledged the allegations against him were false, they were powerless to intervene," the BBC said.

"It's mad, it's just mad that someone can do this and it's so anonymous that someone can put on something about a crime against a child — you can't get any worse than that ... And they can get away with it," Bennett told the news organization.

Since the posting appeared in April 2010 on Google Places, a service that helps consumers search for local businesses, Bennett estimates he has lost 80 percent of his local clients.

Google would not comment to the BBC about the case; it normally does not publically discuss individual cases. But Google did cite its policies and guidelines for business review postings, saying in a statement that "We have rules against things like hate speech or impersonation, but we're not in a position to arbitrate disputes.

"However, we've built a free system that allows business owners to claim their listing, which means that they can then respond to reviews and share their side of the story."

The sting of the accusations remain for Bennett, who remembers his reaction when he first read them: "I was absolutely gobsmacked."

His request to remove the information was not only one in Britain; in a recent report about takedown requests, Google said in the United Kingdom, the "number of content removal requests we received increased by 71 percent" from January to June of this year, compared to the previous reporting period of July to December 2010. ..Source.. by Suzanne Choney

No comments: