Could Your Website Be Liable For The Way Google's Algorithm Summarizes It?
from the that-doesn't-seem-right dept
Ruby writes in to let us know that a Dutch website, Miljoenhuizen.nl, has been found liable for the way that Google summarized the content on the website. Google, of course, has algorithms that try to summarize the contents of a page in a snippet so that you know what’s behind the link, and how it relates to the search that you do. As a part of that, it often will show parts of sentences connected by ellipses, and that’s what happened here. The snippet on Google read:
Complete name: Zwartepoorte Specialiteit: BMW…This company has been declared bankrupt, it has been acquired by the motordealer I have worked for Boat Rialto…
This upset Zwartepoorte, an auto dealer, who felt that this summary falsely stated that it had gone bankrupt… so it sued the underlying site. It’s quite surprising (on a number of different levels) that it didn’t sue Google as well (or instead). However, the court actually agreed that this was the fault of the original website owner, and told Miljoenhuizen.nl to fix the website so that Google wouldn’t summarize the site that way. It’s hard to fathom how this could possibly be Miljoenhuizen.nl’s fault, though apparently someone from Miljoenhuizen.nl suggested that it could control that in the courtroom — which likely resulted in the judge’s ruling.