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Google 'scam' suggestion condemned by high court

January 7, 2010
A Paris court of appeal has ruled against Google in a defamation case lodged by the Centre National Privé de Formation a Distance (CNFDI) in a suit which claimed the search engine's 'Suggest' feature linked the organisation to the word 'scam'.

The Mountain View giant has been ordered to take necessary measures to remove this suggestion from its search functions, according to French legal site

Google, who first experienced litigation in these regards in France via a lawsuit from Direct Energie in May 2009, denied its liability due to the automatic nature of its Google Suggest function, citing the feature works as a result of algorithms and search queries, and without human tampering.

The feature, as its namesake implies, attempts to fill out the remainder of a user's query based on available page results.

Legalis reports, though, the court struck down this argument, as Google invites users to report on offensive or erroneous suggestions, and ones "that could offend", particularly "rude words, and words to incite hatred or violence."

The judges have concluded that the phrase "CNFDI arnaque" - translated as 'swindle' or 'scam' - falls under the umbrella of offensive, condemning the search giant.

The initial lawsuit filed by CNFDI resulted in a favourable ruling for Google, but the ensuing months had brought a decrease of interest in CNFDI and loss of revenue thereof, the company alleged, leading to a retrial and the current ruling.


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