Last week, the Wikimedia Foundation began receiving notices that certain links to Wikipedia content would no longer appear in search results served to people in Europe.

In an email sent earlier on Wednesday, Wikimedia Legal Counsel Michelle Paulson says it has been served its first five notices from Google ‘over the course of the last week or so’, advising the organisation that over 50 links to Wikimedia sites were to be ‘hidden’ from European search results.

Worth noting: Google isn’t legally required to send those notices, and other search engines may have removed additional links from their results without Wikimedia’s knowledge.

Unsurprisingly, the Wikimedia Foundation isn’t happy with the removal of its content from search results, which are a direct result of the controversial (and messy) May European Court of Justice (ECJ) judgment ordering Google to delist some links related to a Spanish citizen.

More than 91,000 ‘right to be forgotten’-related removal requests have been received by Google in the months since the law was imposed, and other search engines, such as Microsoft’s Bing, have also implemented procedures to accept public requests.

In a blog post, Wikimedia’s Executive Director, Lila Tretikov, argues that the ECJ decision “punches holes in free knowledge” by “undermining the world’s ability to freely access accurate and verifiable records about individuals and events”. From the blog post:

In doing so, the European court abandoned its responsibility to protect one of the most important and universal rights: the right to seek, receive, and impart information.

As a consequence, accurate search results are vanishing in Europe with no public explanation, no real proof, no judicial review, and no appeals process. The result is an internet riddled with memory holes—places where inconvenient information simply disappears.

Wikimedia says it will henceforth post all notices for each indefinite removal of Wikipedia search results. You can see them here. The organisation also published its first transparency report today.

Expect to ‘right to be forgotten’ law to keep making headlines in the months to come.

(Featured image credit: Dustit / Shutterstock)