A high-profile successful business man we represent is and always has been single. Yet, the new Infograph on Google when his name is searched shows him as married (with a spouses’ name) and it bothers him. We prepared and submitted to Google a notarized letter saying he’s never been married, attached multiple media clippings attesting to him being single, and provided tax returns showing that he tells the IRS he is single.
Google’s reply came: “The data appearing in search results is derived from an algorithm that indexes content available on the Web and evaluates it based on hundreds of variables. Manual edits to search results are extremely rare. Google isn’t publishing information; we’re facilitating access to information that’s already on the Web. The problem is there is a news source who lists your client as having a spouse. I suggest contacting those publications and asking them to issue a correction. If they make a correction or remove the references, the right information should eventually get picked-up by our algorithms.”
We discovered that many years ago a newspaper listed a girlfriend at the time as his wife. The man is mentioned in hundreds of articles a year and has never been married. He doesn’t read every story he’s mentioned in, and somehow a search algorithm picked this up.
We have not been successful tracking down the Reporter who wrote the article seven years ago, and the Publication stands by the article. Now what to do? File a lawsuit which would cause more media on this issue?
Hope as Google said “If they make a correction or remove the references, the right information should eventually get picked-up by our algorithms.” If… and eventually. A scary catch 22.
In today’s world, even someone who pays a Public Relations Agency can’t get the truth reflected online. Scary times indeed.