How to Permanently Remove Unwanted Newspaper Articles From the Internet Featured Image

How to Permanently Remove Unwanted Newspaper Articles From the Internet

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    If you have been the unwilling subject of a damaging news article, you may be wondering how to remove negative newspaper articles from the web. Most people think that once something is online, it will stay there forever—but that is not always true.

    While it can often be a difficult process, permanently removing unwanted online news articles can be done. Removing a news article from the internet may require you to take one or more of the following actions:

    1. Contact the online news publisher directly to request removal;
    2. Contact online search engines (such as Google) to remove outdated search results;
    3. Obtain the services of a legal team that can help you determine the right course of action.

    At Minc Law, we have obtained removals of hundreds of online news articles, as well as tens of thousands of other pieces of online content. We are well-versed in content removal techniques and strategies.

    Video: How to Permanently Remove Unwanted News Articles From the Web

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    In this article, we will explain the importance of removing negative and defamatory online news articles. Then, we will take a detailed look at how to remove a news article from the internet.

    Dealing with defamatory news articles?

    We have handled thousands of cases in defamation and media law, and we will work tirelessly to remove or correct false information and restore your reputation.

    Contact Minc Law

    How Negative Online News Articles Can Damage Your Reputation

    In old movies, the hard-boiled press agent would dismiss a hostile newspaper story by barking a cliché: “Don’t worry. That newspaper will be wrapping fish tomorrow.” Of course, in the digital age, negative news articles and stories no longer physically fade away. What is published online usually stays online—forever—for all to see.

    Unlike physical news articles, which would all but disappear with the next day’s recycling, digital articles will usually stay online unless there is a reason to take them down. Thus, you need to take proactive steps to remove the news article from the internet.

    How Can Negative Online News Ruin Your Personal Reputation & Livelihood?

    With the ubiquity of the internet, especially social media, no one is immune to the negative effects of a bad online news story. A negative online news article can tarnish even an average person’s reputation or livelihood.

    Negative online news articles can affect you personally, professionally, and in your business. Customers, employers, or even dates may see negative information about you as easily as positive information.

    If a negative news story is published on the web, it can rank higher in search results and become a permanent fixture on the first page. This is especially true if it is particularly newsworthy or popular. A negative article about you can:

    • Paint a very unfair, one-sided view of what might be one of your worst moments,
    • Limit your ability to find a job,
    • Damage your personal relationships,
    • Cause unintended harm and shame to those you care about most,
    • Cause anxiety and distress in your daily life.

    A negative newspaper article can be devastating—and as is often the case, negative articles can keep trending over time. There is no “waiting out” bad publicity online.

    How Can Negative News Articles Impact My Employment Opportunities?

    If you have had a criminal conviction in your past, a news story detailing the events of the incident can follow you through the rest of your life. Even if you have paid your debt to society or the charge was dismissed, that news story will still appear in search results.

    Due to the permanent nature of online news, a prior conviction can keep many individuals from finding stable employment. Prospective employers who run a Google search and see a past arrest might become skittish and decide to hire someone else.

    In a National Employment Law Project study of U.S. adults with criminal records, researchers found that a person’s interaction with the criminal justice system can create a lifetime of disadvantage. This disadvantage occurs even though allowing individuals with criminal records the opportunity for stable employment boosts the economy and lowers crime recidivism rates.

    When an individual’s arrest is documented online, it can have serious ramifications for the rest of that person’s life. That is, unless the content is removed.

    Minc Law Online Privacy Tip: Because a simple Google search is a common practice in the hiring process, it is essential to monitor your digital footprint and clean up your internet presence. Monitor your online accounts (such as social media profiles, forum posts, and blogs) and delete any unprofessional or negative content. It is also a good idea to adjust your privacy settings on social media profiles to choose who can see your posts and activity.

    How Can Negative Online Articles Affect Customer Experience & Engagement?

    The potential harm caused by negative online articles is not limited to individuals. In the same way that a bad news story can haunt a person online, it can also become a persistent problem for a business.

    For example, top search results containing negative online articles or reviews about your business can cause serious harm and damage.

    After all, the internet is the first option that individuals turn to when looking for information. Nearly 95% of shoppers seek out online reviews before making a purchase. And SEO tool Moz estimates that 75% of internet users stay on the first page of Google search results when seeking out information of any kind.

    At best, negative publicity is a minor inconvenience. At worst, it can potentially close down the business for good.

    A negative news story can harm a business in many ways:

    • Bad press and negative publicity leading to diminished public trust;
    • Severance of business partnerships, advertising, and other professional relationships;
    • A declining bottom line;
    • Having to close your doors for good.

    When businesses are caught up in negative press, the public can begin to distrust and disassociate with them. So-called “cancel culture,” online shaming, and viral moments can destroy businesses as well. Companies accused of unethical behavior can be severely—and sometimes irreparably—damaged.

    For example, in today’s fast-moving digital age, news stories can break in a matter of minutes over social media platforms accusing a business of being racist or fostering a culture of sexual harassment. Before the public can hear the whole story, social media users share the accusations online. Within hours, customers are vowing to boycott the company. Or, the general public may post a surge of fake online reviews in retaliation for what they believe to be undesirable conduct or policies.

    The importance of online reviews for a business cannot be overstated. Up to 94% of respondents in a 2018 ReviewTrackers study stated that they avoid a business because of the negative online reviews they read. And more than 11% of prospective customers need just one negative review to decide to not even engage with a business or product. Once the bad press has damaged the public’s perception of you online, it can be very difficult to avoid loss of revenue as a result.

    Minc Law Reputation Management Tip: Even if there is currently no negative content about you or your business online, you still need to be vigilant and take steps to monitor your online reputation. A negative online article or story that unfairly hurts you can be published at any time.

    How to Monitor News Articles About Your Business Online

    As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The most effective way to protect your business from negative publicity is to monitor what is said about your business online.

    There are several ways to monitor your online reputation or take action if something negative is published. Some of these options are easier (and cheaper) than others.

    Is paying for better monitoring and protection is worth the extra money? That is something only you can decide. The following section gives an overview of popular tools that can help businesses monitor their online presence.

    Option #1: Google Yourself in Incognito Mode

    Googling yourself or your business might be the simplest way to see if there are any negative news stories about you.

    Start by using incognito mode in your browser of choice. Incognito mode prevents the search engine from tailoring the search results to your previous search history. It also stops third-party services from tracking your search and bombarding you later with ads from defamatory sites.

    Conduct a basic Google search of yourself or your business by searching terms like:

    • Your name (with or without any applicable professional titles),
    • The name of your business,
    • Your business’s address and telephone number.

    Assuming these searches do not uncover anything negative or worrisome, you can then conduct a more refined search. This might include:

    • Adding a location to your business or personal name in the search bar;
    • Adding a defamatory term that you think someone else might apply to you. For instance, if you wonder if someone thinks your business is a scam, search for the name of your business plus the word “scam;”
    • Using search term modifiers and filters;
    • Using other search engines besides Google;
    • Conducting a reverse image search.

    Option #2: Create a Google Alert

    Much like the term suggests, Google Alerts is a tool that sends users an alert when a certain keyword appears in Google search. The tool is free to use and very easy to set up. You can decide not only which keyword to monitor (such as your name or the name of your business), but also how often you wish to receive alerts.

    Simply enter a topic you would like to follow into the bar, then click the gear symbol to customize your alert preferences.

    How to create a Google Alert

    Option #3: Stay on Top of Your Social Media Presence

    Regardless of how active you are on social media, it is a good idea to monitor your accounts for any replies or comments to your posts. It is especially important for businesses to respond to feedback immediately. By being quick to reply, you will have a better chance of nipping negative publicity in the bud.

    Make sure to keep tabs on any mentions of your username or social media handle, as well. Monitoring your reputation on social media enables you to react quickly to any damaging conversations, posts, or content about you.

    Option #4: Sign Up For a Digital Risk Protection Service

    Not everyone has the time to conduct the above steps to monitor their online presence, especially on a regular basis. And when you do run into an issue of negative press, it can be difficult for the average person to respond quickly and effectively.

    That is why a digital risk protection service is considered a convenient and affordable alternative. These services provide monitoring that exceeds what individuals can do on their own. They also provide additional services such as legal solutions, online remediation, and cybersecurity. Minc Law operates a digital risk protection service that may help any individual or business ward off negative defamatory attacks on the internet. For an overview of the service and some qualifying questions, visit our article, “Frequently Asked Questions About Digital Risk Protection“.

    How to Contact Online News Publications to Remove a News Article From the Internet

    If you come across a negative online news publication that you feel should be taken down, your first instinct might be to send a nasty letter or email. But this knee-jerk reaction is almost guaranteed not to work.

    When making contact with an online news publication, there are several best practices to give yourself the best chance of success. It boils down to doing your research, making your case respectfully, and being ready to provide information.

    Find Out Where to Contact the Online News Publication to Remove the Article

    The first step in contacting the online news publication is to determine the right person to contact. You will need to research both the publication and the editor.

    Why Research the Publication Itself?

    Researching the publication helps you determine whom to contact while giving you an idea of how the removal process will work. For example:

    • If a publication is a local newspaper, any decision to remove an article will likely be an internal decision.
    • If the news organization is part of a larger media company, there may be corporate policies that outline how any removal is to take place, if at all.
    • If the publication is part of a college or university, it might mean that any contact will have to wait until school is in session.

    Also, some news organizations may or may not have formal content removal policies in place. If the organization has a formal policy, read it carefully. Tailor your request so that relevant provisions from the content removal policy support your request.

    But if there is no formal policy, you will need to find a way to explain why your case is a special situation that justifies the removal of content.

    Contacting the Right Person at the Publication

    Next, identify the publication’s editor or another individual with the authority to remove the content.

    Generally speaking, the editor of a publication has the power to decide what is published, corrected, or taken down. But some organizations might have several editors with the authority to take down an article.

    Some news publications may also have designated contacts for removal requests. This is especially true with television and radio news stations, where a station manager or news director may be your primary contact. If there is an official contact, you can likely find them on the publication’s website.

    If you cannot find this information from the website, you can always call the organization. Ask for the name and contact information of the person who handles removal requests.

    After you confirm the right person to contact, make sure to pause before calling them right away. You will have the best chance of succeeding if you do a little background research on that person’s personality and way of thinking. You can find this information by checking their social media posts and reading some of the stories they have published. Ask yourself questions like:

    • Are they more liberal or conservative on the political spectrum?
    • Are they a fan of a specific sports team?
    • Is there a social cause that they spend time promoting?
    • What types of stories interest them (social activism, politics, etc.)?

    With this information, you can better tailor your arguments for removing the article, as well as establish a rapport.

    Be Ready For Potential Obstacles News Publications Will Want to be Addressed When Taking Down Negative Articles

    Despite how much harm an article is causing or how false you believe some allegations are, you will likely face an uphill battle when asking for an article to be removed from the internet. Most of these challenges have their roots in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

    As long as the piece is accurate, there are almost no legal means to force a news publication to take down a story. Suing or threatening a news organization is usually a bad idea, as they may rely on many potential legal defenses, such as:

    • Fair report privilege: A news report can resist claims of defamation if the report’s statement or story came from a public official or an official public document.
    • Wire service defense: Media outlets that republish a story from a reputable wire service, such as the Associated Press, will not be liable for defamation as long as they do not change the story or have any reason to doubt its accuracy.
    • Statute of limitations: Bringing a suit for defamation must usually be done within one to three years of publication, depending on the state’s defamation statute of limitations and laws.
    • Substantial truth doctrine: Truth is a defense to defamation. As long as the gist of the news story is accurate, minor inaccuracies will often not be enough to support a claim of defamation.
    • Opinion and fair comment privilege: Publications have the right to criticize, comment, and give statements of opinion about matters of public interest.
    • Newsworthiness defense: An invasion of privacy claim can fail if the private information shared was both true and a matter of legitimate public concern (i.e., newsworthy). Almost any story about an arrest or other criminal matter is considered newsworthy, even if it is about a private citizen.
    • Incremental harm doctrine: A news organization might resist an allegation of defamation if the defamatory part of a story does not overshadow the harm caused by the non-defamatory portions.

    Outside of the courtroom, news publications also make several common arguments for why they should not take down a negative article, no matter how much it might be unfairly hurting someone:

    1. Public Record

    Most publishers of news view themselves as gatekeepers of the “public record.” Thus, to ask them to take down or remove an article is the equivalent of asking them to erase a part of history.

    In a report by Kathy English of the Toronto Star on the question of unpublishing, two journalists emphasized: “Unpublishing is a word that does not accurately reflect what people are asking. They are asking to censor or rewrite history.”

    2. Living in the Past

    Some news publications, especially newspapers, tend to be unaware—or at least dismissive—of how technology is changing everyday life.

    After all, many news publications were slow to react to the rise of the internet and what it meant for the newspaper industry, which led to many of these publications closing down altogether. It makes sense that old-school newspaper editors would also struggle to comprehend how much a news story can impact an individual’s life by remaining present in their Google search results years afterward.

    In fact, under European legislation, the right to be forgotten enables individuals to ask search engines to remove results that include their names. This law can prevent European citizens from being haunted by past actions, posts, or other harmful information that is documented online. Unfortunately, however, this type of protective legislation is still nonexistent in the United States.

    3. No Consistent Unpublishing Policies in Place

    Many news institutions have simply delayed in creating a set of policies for when and how a story should be removed. This lack of clear procedures can understandably cause reservations for anyone who is asked to unpublish a story. Without sufficient guidance, an editor may be afraid of accusations of bias or favoritism when deciding to take down one article, but not another.

    In a 2017 study by Deborah Dwyer, a media ethics specialist at UNC-Chapel Hill, she found that:

    • Eighty percent (80%) of surveyed news outlets had established policies for unpublishing, but only fourteen percent (14%) of newsrooms included the unpublishing guidelines in an official staff manual or handbook.
    • Forty percent (40%) of respondents said they only learned of the unpublishing policies when an issue arose.
    • Sixty-four percent (64%) of respondents said that while the editor-in-chief or managing editor has “final say” in unpublishing, it is the IT team that has the ability to remove content (and could do it autonomously if they wished).

    4. The Story Has Already Been Updated

    Journalists and news outlets typically strive for the highest level of accuracy. So if there is a mistake in a story, they are usually quick to update the piece with more accurate information.

    Therefore, many online publications will balk at the idea of taking something down entirely. They prefer to correct, update, or add context to an existing piece instead.

    5. A Balancing of Competing Interests

    Assuming that a news story is harming an innocent person, news organizations have other considerations to take into account before removing it. For instance:

    • Would removing the content be in the best interests of the publication’s readers?
    • Would unpublishing a story lead readers to lose trust in the news organization?
    • Assuming one story is taken down, what rules concerning accountability, accuracy, and transparency should be put in place so the decision to take down a future story can be done fairly and consistently?

    News publishers are aware that issues like these can raise questions of accuracy and fairness. One article removal can quickly become a slippery slope leading to removing articles too easily—which can cause a real or perceived loss in journalistic integrity.

    Have Information & Documents Ready When Asking For a News Article to Be Taken Down

    Before you make contact with an editor or other person capable of deciding to take down a news article, it is essential to gather all arguments and evidence needed to support your request.

    Ask yourself the following questions when determining what kind of evidence you need to gather:

    • Does the story contain information or language that is false, defamatory, libelous, or creates a false impression?
    • Was the news story published within the last year or two?
    • Is the article written in such a way that it is likely to illicit defamatory or other offensive responses?
    • Does the article publish your personal information, such as your social security number or driver’s license information?
    • Is the article about you when you were a minor?
    • Does the article allow the news publication to profit from your name or likeness?
    • Is there anything in the article that violates a copyright or trademark right of yours?

    Answering these questions will prompt you to find the information and documentation necessary to make your case to the news publication. If you cannot answer “yes” to at least one of these questions, you may want to reconsider whether you have sufficient reason to ask a news publication to take down one of its stories.

    Editors are busy people and they are usually inclined not to unpublish an article. So the last thing you want to do is make the editor’s life harder by not readily providing the information they need to justify removal.

    First, gather the hard facts needed to prove the inaccuracy (or outdatedness) of the article in question. For example, if you want an article about your involvement in a crime taken down because your conviction has been sealed or expunged, you need to have the necessary court documents and case numbers ready to prove these facts to the editor.

    Next, humanize what you are going through and make the editor sympathetic to your situation. Two of the most effective ways to do this is by using impact statements and character references.

    • An impact statement will explain how the article you are asking to be taken down has adversely affected your life.
    • Character references allow someone else to vouch for your character and help support your argument that you are not the person the article portrays you to be.

    When you finally speak or write to the editor, be honest. If they have even the smallest suspicion that you are lying, they will be far less inclined to give you what you want. Also, be respectful. Do not become angry or attack the editor or news publication, as this will just make them defensive.

    Given the fast-paced schedule of an editor, with a rush deadline always looming, you should also come to the point quickly. The editor will recognize your attempts to be considerate of the hectic schedule they have.

    Finally, be patient. Most unpublishing decisions are not made immediately; it might take a publication anywhere from several hours to several months to make the final decision to take down an article. It is a good rule of thumb to politely follow up after several weeks (or at a time the editor suggests).

    How to Contact Google to Remove Outdated Negative Articles From Search Results

    For many individuals who want to remove unwanted Google search results, their first instinct is to try contacting Google directly. However, the process for removing outdated search results is a bit more complicated than that.

    1. First, understand that Google does not create or control online content (which is why you should contact the original source for removal);
    2. If the original content was not removed at the source, Google may still agree to remove search results that violate its terms of service;
    3. If the content has been removed at the source or if it violates Google’s Terms of Service, you can visit Google’s outdated content removal portal to request removal of the search results.

    Who Do You Contact at Google to Have Negative Articles Removed?

    Simply put, there is no way to remove negative news articles from the internet by contacting Google.

    Remember, Google is a search engine and does not create online content. Instead, it crawls and aggregates content from other online sources (usually webpages).

    The most Google can do is to remove results from its search engine. Furthermore, you cannot sue Google to remove unwanted or negative news articles.

    That is why it is important to contact the original source (for example, a news publication or website) to request that the original article be removed first, before contacting Google to remove any traces of the article’s content from its search results.

    What Are Stipulations For Having Content Removed From Google Search Results?

    Unfortunately, Google will not remove content from its search results just because you make a removal request. The platform will usually only agree to remove content that violates its terms of service.

    For instance, the content may have a good chance of being removed by Google if it:

    • Constitutes malware, spam, paid links, phishing, or other similar issues;
    • Is no longer online, but Google’s search engine has not been updated to reflect that fact;
    • Includes personal protected information;
    • Infringes on someone’s intellectual property rights, such as a copyright or trademark, and is potentially subject to a DMCA takedown notice;
    • Violates specific copyright or privacy laws. These might include FOSTA-SESTA, child sex abuse, or European privacy laws;
    • Is not in compliance with a court order.

    In situations where you are trying to take down a valid and truthful news article that comes from a legitimate news source, most of the reasons listed above will not apply.

    Unless one of these reasons applies to your situation, it is dangerous and counterproductive to ask Google to remove the content. Making a bad-faith request can backfire; it might result in unwanted attention from web activists due to an illegal or frivolous DMCA takedown notice. You might even find yourself in legal trouble for providing Google with a fake court order.

    Minc Law Online Removal Tip: Even if Google agrees to remove content from its search engine, it could still find its way back into Google’s search results. Unless the content has also been taken down from its original online source, the person or organization responsible for the original publication will receive notice of Google’s removal and will still have the option of republishing the content.

    What Does the Process Look Like For Getting Google to Remove Outdated Search Results?

    If you have successfully convinced the original source—be it a website or a news publication—to remove the article and that content is no longer online, it may sometimes continue to appear in Google search results.

    If that is the case, you can ask Google to update its search results by completing the following steps:

    Step 1: Visit Google’s outdated content removal portal.

    Step 2: Check the box that says “Google Search,” as shown below:

    Google search removal 'what Google product does your request relate to'

    Step 3: On the following page, click “Google Search” again.

    Google search removal 'what Google product does your request relate to' part two

    Step 4: On the next page, click “A piece of content I am concerned about has already been removed by the webmaster but still appears among the search results.”

    Google search removal 'piece of content still appears among the search results'

    Step 5: The next page will prompt you to click the “this tool” link, as seen below:

    Google search tool to remove page cache

    Step 6: You will be brought to a search console page to remove the outdated content. Click “New Request” and enter the URL you would like removed from Google search into the content box. Note: it is important to enter the exact URL that is appearing in search results. DO NOT copy the URL from the URL bar in your browser when you are on the web page.

    Google search removal URL tool

    Step 7: The link will be analyzed by Google and a box should appear. Click “Request Removal.” The status of your removal will appear in the window, as seen below:

    Google search request URL removal

    Minc Law Online Removal Tip: Google is not the only online search engine you might need to approach to have an article removed from the search results. However, you will want to start with Google because they have in excess of 85% of the world’s desktop search engine market share.

    How a Legal Team Can Help You Remove Unwanted Newspaper Articles From the Internet

    Finding the right legal help can increase your chances of removing negative news articles from the internet. An experienced legal team can help you by:

    An attorney will also be able to recommend the best course of action based on their individual situation.

    While content removal is often the most suitable option, it is not the best course of action in every case. For instance, it may be difficult or impossible to remove content that is too newsworthy or has “gone viral” due to the Streisand Effect. In other cases, legal relief may take longer than the victim is willing or able to wait.

    Fortunately, content removal is not your only option for dealing with negative or unwanted content. Online reputation management is sometimes referred to as “search engine suppression” and involves the use of positive, constructive content to suppress the unwanted material.

    Suppression techniques might include publishing press releases, updating social media accounts, and creating positive content (such as a blog).

    Video: How Suppression Can Help You Take Control of Your Online Reputation

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    Minc Law Online Removal Tip: Pushing unwanted content to page two of a search result is a very effective way of keeping the general public from seeing it. Data shows that as many as 75% of online users never look past the first page in online search results.

    What Type of Lawyer Can Help You Remove an Online News Article?

    When you imagine hiring an attorney, you may picture a hard-nosed litigator with decades of experience taking defendants to court. But when it comes to online defamation and removing negative news articles, litigation is rarely an effective tool.

    Instead of looking for a lawyer who uses scorched-earth litigation tactics and plays hardball, you need someone with finesse, diplomacy, and negotiating ability. The most effective attorney in this situation knows how to persuade rather than threaten.

    If you have read this far, you understand that threats are the worst course of action you or your attorney can take. Instead, your legal team needs to be able to elicit empathy for your situation that will motivate the editor to want to help you.

    An internet defamation attorney has experience submitting content removal requests, subpoenaing websites, compiling evidence, and working with news publications. That is why it is essential to work with an experienced internet defamation attorney; they have the knowledge and experience required to strike the right balance between compassion and assertiveness.

    The process of removing a negative online article usually does not involve filing a defamation lawsuit. Rather, it requires contacting the news publication and presenting the reasons you feel the piece should be removed.

    You (or your attorney) will need to identify the appropriate person to contact, then provide all evidence in support of your request—and do so with the proper level of assertiveness and tact. You will have to be honest and respectful in your interactions. But at the same time, you will need to come prepared and cut to the chase with the editor or other relevant individual.

    Your attorney may also know of other remedies that may apply in your case, such as:

    • Reporting content that violates Google’s Terms of Service;
    • Sending a DMCA takedown notice due to copyright infringement;
    • If you are a citizen of the European Union, requesting EU privacy removal of your personal information from Google search queries.

    Listed below are three of the many cases Minc Law has resolved for clients whose reputations were being unjustly harmed and libeled by online articles.

    Client #1: A Case of Improper Sexual Conduct

    Client One was a middle-school teacher accused of improper sexual contact by a student. Yet after digging deeper into the accusations, the prosecutor ultimately decided to drop the charges.

    The prosecutor determined that the witnesses had committed perjury. Because they personally disliked Client One, the witnesses had invented the entire story of abuse. Although the complete dismissal of charges was well and good for Client One’s legal record, he still could not find a teaching job with nearly half a dozen newspaper articles concerning the case still floating around online.

    These negative articles caused Client One to relive the baseless attacks and consequences daily. Minc Law was able to secure the takedown of online and libelous articles unjustly crucifying Client One. He then found gainful employment as a teacher.

    Client #2: Craigslist Consensual Encounters

    Client Two was a man who had published a “consensual encounter” advertisement on Craigslist. A woman answered it, leading to a consensual rendezvous with Client Two. But the woman began having second thoughts and started to feel guilty about cheating on her boyfriend.

    She confessed about the encounter to her boyfriend. Unfortunately, she lied about the true nature of the encounter and claimed that she had been kidnapped and raped. The boyfriend immediately reported the incident to the police.

    In no time, Client Two was facing charges of kidnapping, rape, sodomy, and aggravated assault. Just one of these charges stood to seriously impact the rest of Client Two’s life. And due to the salacious nature of the case, the press jumped on the story, publishing 11 digital articles about the encounter.

    Luckily, Client Two had recorded a tape of the sexual encounter (that was created with the woman’s permission), along with emails they exchanged preceding the encounter. With this evidence, we were able to prove beyond a doubt that the sex was consensual. The charges against him were dropped. However, there stood one last hurdle in the way of a normal life for Client Two: the reputation-destroying online articles.

    Minc Law immediately reached out to newsrooms, and we removed 10 of the 11 news articles. As for the last news article, we succeeded in significantly updating it and removing an unflattering mugshot.

    Client #3: Underage Facebook Encounter

    Client Three was a man in his early 20s who had used Facebook to arrange an encounter in a public park with a young girl. The meeting was brief, public, and without any physical contact between the two. But, it came to light that the girl had lied about her age and was just 15 years old.

    Her parents found out about the meeting and goaded the prosecutor into pressing charges against Client Three.

    The case received a great deal of attention from the press because Facebook was just starting to gain popularity at the time. It also did not help that the public was ripe for a sensationalistic story about the risks of a social network. The charges were eventually dropped, although the case appeared in 26 news stories.

    At Minc Law, we were able to remove or de-index all of those articles, some of them posted on national online publications and several new archive websites.

    How Long Does the Legal Process Take to Get Online Content Removed?

    Because the process is different for each case, the time frame for content removal varies tremendously. In some cases, the publication will ask for follow up information and documentation, further adding to both the time frame, as well as the cost to remove the news article.

    Normally, it would be reasonable to estimate that the removal process could take between four weeks and four months. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the standard wait time.

    The best policy is to keep tabs on the situation, but prepare yourself to be patient.

    Reach Out the Defamation Attorneys at Minc Law

    Over the past several decades, the news publishing industry has changed drastically. Where a negative article used to simply disappear with the next day’s trash, today’s news articles are permanent inhabitants of the web. They can be recalled at any time with a few strokes of a keyboard.

    A negative online news article can do such lasting damage to your livelihood, reputation, and peace of mind. Every situation is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all strategy. Thus, it is important to consult an experienced defamation removal attorney before embarking on the online takedown process.

    Minc Law is a leading defamation law firm that works to protect our clients from attacks on their online reputation and privacy. The Minc Law team has extensive experience and credibility working with websites and news organizations to secure swift and permanent takedowns of unwanted newspaper articles.


    “A news editor rarely wants to get a call from an attorney, but Dorrian Horsey was persistent and polite, provided all the relevant details we needed and we were able to come to a resolution that was satisfactory for her client and upheld the standards of our news organization.”

    Noah Bombard, October 26, 2021

    To schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation with an intake specialist, call us at (216) 373-7706 or fill out our online contact form.

    Are you being defamed online? We will get it removed. Contact Minc Law today!

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