PC World: Autocomplete Astroturfing Struck Down in Japan

Google (or Yahoo) autocomplete in many circumstances will suggest phrases that are inaccurate or unfair when applied to my client’s name or business. In many cases, these autocomplete phrases are the result of astroturfing campaigns by advocates designed to harass or intimidate my client.

A Japanese court has now ruled that Google must remove auto-complete results that link a man to crimes he says he didn’t commit.

“The auto-complete function in Google’s search bar fills in crimes when my client’s name is entered,” said Tokyo lawyer Hiroyuki Tomita.

“He lost his job, and has had other job offers rescinded, likely because of this association.”

The search giant likely links the man’s name to the crime terms because a false story about him containing allegations apparently spread across various sites, which were then indexed by the search giant, Tomita said. The man says he has no knowledge of the types of crimes that appear.

As of this writing, Google has not complied with the court’s order.

We hope that intentional harassment and intimidation through the spread of false information via autocomplete is attacked in the U.S. as well.


Link: PC World

HT: The Blaze