When (and why) we remove content from Google search results

Complying with the law

We hold ourselves to a high standard when it comes to our legal requirements to remove pages from Google search results. For many issues, such as privacy or defamation, our legal obligations may vary country by country, as different jurisdictions have come to different conclusions about how to deal with these complex topics.

We encourage people and authorities to alert us to content they believe violates the law. In fact, in most cases, this is necessary, because determining whether content is illegal is not always a determination that Google is equipped to make, especially without notice from those who are affected. 

For example, in the case of copyrighted material, we can’t automatically confirm whether a given page hosting that particular content has a license to do so, so we need rightsholders to tell us. By contrast, the mere presence of child sex abuse material (CSAM) on a page is illegal in most jurisdictions, so we develop ways to automatically identify that content and prevent it from showing in our results.

In the case of all legal removals, we share information about government requests for removal in our Transparency Report. Where possible, we inform website owners about requests for removal via Search Console.