Google settles auto-complete defamation suit in Israel

Internet entrepreneur Tzachi Rosenthal reached a settlement agreement with web giant Google, in a defamation lawsuit filed in Israel against the popular search engine. In the lawsuit, Rosenthal alleged that when Google's search engine is used to search for his name, the engine's Autocomplete function suggests defamatory phrase supplements such as “con man”, “cheat”, “fraud” and "ponzi".

During court proceedings, the plaintiff demonstrated how the Autocomplete feature could be manipulated to display the phrase “received chocolate milk” when searching for the judge's name. Relying on this demonstration, the plaintiff argued that a similar result could just as easily be achieved with the phrase “received a bribe” being made to appear next to the judge's name, thus maliciously tarnishing her reputation. In the settlement, Google agreed, without admitting to any wrongdoing, to pay Rosenthal 30,000 NIS (approximately US$ 8,500) and prevent the re-appearance of defamatory phrases next to Rosenthal's name. Source: Globes (in Hebrew).