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Google has already hidden as many as 100,000 search results in Europe

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The "right to be forgotten" is already having a huge impact on Google's search results. Since the landmark May ruling, Google has removed "tens of thousands" of links — potentially over 100,000 — pertaining to Europeans who've filed to have that information hidden from web users. According to a Wall Street Journal source, 91,000 people have so far asked Google to pull down links for 328,000 URLs. But the company hasn't yet gotten around to processing all those requests.

Of those it has, Google says it's removed results in over 50 percent of cases. That suggests Google is working in broad strokes as it responds to the European Union's controversial decision, which critics say has ushered in a new era of internet censorship. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales recently joined that chorus, saying that Google shouldn't be "censoring history" with the decisions it's being forced to make. The company has demonstrated some discretion at times; Google told watchdog officials that it's asked for more details in 15 percent of cases processed to this point. Microsoft recently followed Google's lead with its own implementation of the right to be forgotten policy, so it will be interesting to see if there are any differences in how much content the competitors are willing to hide.