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Posted at 10:54 AM ET, 04/06/2011

Can Google libel you?


How much can Google’s search results affect your life?

A court in Milan upheld an Italian man’s complaint that Google must filter libelous results from its autocomplete search results. The man, who is unnamed, found that when people searched for his name in Google, the site’s autocomplete function appended “con man” and “fraud” to his name.

According to ZDNet UK, the lead counsel in the case, Carlo Piana, wrote in a blog post that every case is different, and there is “no assurance that similar cases would see the same outcome.”

Google argued that it does not create the content of its autocomplete queries, arguing that it only hosts the content. Autocomplete suggests are generated by search algorithms.

Piana sought to prove that Google is responsible for creating the content, an argument upheld by the Court of Milano.

In a statement, Google told ZDNET UK, “We believe that Google should not be held liable for terms that appear in autocomplete as these are predicted by computer algorithms based on searches from previous users, not by Google itself. We are currently reviewing our options.”

Do you think Google should be held responsible for its autocomplete suggestions?

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By  |  10:54 AM ET, 04/06/2011

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