Removing posts from social media could sometimes be more challenging than having the same posts removed from internet search engines. A right to be forgotten request to a social media company might be the only way you can remove unwanted posts from their platforms because often social media posts do not appear on general Google search results. However, in some cases, posts from social media could appear in a prominent position on Google searches, particularly if you don’t have a lot of information about you on the internet already.
Yes. You can make a right to be forgotten application to a social media company regardless of whether the social media company is based in the UK, Europe or anywhere else in the world. There is very little difference between Google as a search engine and Twitter as a social media platform, in the sense that both provide search facilities and an opportunity for their users to post, locate and identify private information.
Some social media platforms have automated right to be forgotten forms whilst others only allow you to report posts without enabling you to provide the information to support your request. You may submit a request for removing posts from social media platforms directly to the social media company by writing to the company at their official registered address. Even if you did not receive a positive reply to your request, you can still push matters further by serving the social media company with a formal GDPR Notice. Alternatively, or in addition, you may also submit to Google a separate right to be forgotten request to ensure that Google is removing posts from social media from its own search engine.
Particular difficulties in removing posts from social media with the right to be forgotten, often relate to the fact that social media companies tend to employ far fewer content moderators than mainstream social media companies. Furthermore, nearly all the human resources of social media companies tend to be located in the United States and are applied to handle local issues. Those content moderators who work for social media companies and who operate from the USA, tend to think and operate within the American legal system which means they often find the very concept of a right to be forgotten, incompatible with their own constitutional right to free speech.
There are many reasons why people want to remove posts from social media, and in some cases, a right to be forgotten process might provide the methods for doing this. Information found on a social media platform about yourself can have a strong impact on your life and there could be issues concerning privacy and data protection that are specifically applicable to the removal of posts from social media with the right to be forgotten. For instance, when you apply for a job, it is likely that your potential employer has already looked at you on social media and formed an opinion. If you are invited to attend a job interview, the interview goes well and then you don’t hear back, it is likely that this is due to your social media presence.
The type of social media posts that individuals tend to want to remove from social media include: negative comments about you, negative posts that are directed at you, posts by internet trolls about you, negative shoot-from-the-hip responses to negative comments directed at you, and old posts that you regret ever posting. However, you need to remember that the right to be forgotten process is founded on privacy and on data protection laws so each type of post that you want removed from social media under a right to be forgotten, has to be explained to the social media company in terms of privacy and data protection laws.
You can submit a right to be forgotten request to any social media provider, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google by using their own online platform. If, however, you wish to submit a right to be forgotten request to any of the social media companies by using your own words, you are free to do so and the law is very clear that there is no requirement to submit right to be forgotten requests by using a pre-prepared form from the social media or the internet company.
You should make sure that your right to be forgotten request to the social media company states very clearly what posts you wish to remove and that you include hyperlinks to each post, each tweet, each reply, each image and each video that you wish to have removed. Sending a screenshot is normally insufficient as it makes it difficult and sometimes impossible for the social media company to accurately identify the posts you are complaining about. If you wish, you can completely skip the right to be forgotten step and serve a detailed GDPR Notice on the social media company, instead.
It's time to do something about it. If you need help in removing material from the internet, give us a call 0207 183 4123. We are the only law firm that specialises in this area of law. We have a lot of experience in this area and we promise that our friendly lawyers will put you at ease and help you in reclaiming your life. There is a high likelihood that we will be able to help you remove unwanted content from the internet, including articles, videos and social media posts.