Google exec calls for web ‘delete’ button

Posted on May 9, 2013


Anyone who has ever bashed out a drunken Facebook status they regretted the next morning, or blogged of their love of a certain brand of cringe-worthy music during a wayward time in their youth, might be relieved to hear that the chief executive of Google thinks that we should be able to wipe our cyber-gaffes from the Internet.

Speaking during an appearance at New York University (NYU) on May 6, Google’s Eric Schmidt, who is usually known for his fondness of all things online, admitted that a weakness of the web is that it can act as a permanent virtual footprint of a person’s deeds or misdeeds, making online mud perhaps the stickiest variety of them all.

Schmidt was speaking at NYU alongside Jared Cohen, who co-authored a recent book with the Google bigwig, and said:

“In America, there’s a sense of fairness that’s culturally true for all of us.

“The lack of a delete button on the Internet is a significant issue.”

He illustrated his point with a hypothetical example of a young person who is alleged to have committed a crime or wrongdoing of which he is later cleared, yet the internet could continue to be swamped with the allegations.

While detractors could argue that the power to remove a user’s comments for the Internet could lead to irresponsible behaviour, such as posting defamatory content and then denying doing so after deletion, a ‘delete’ option would certainly be a welcome tonic to forum users who frequently forget to think before they type, foot-in-mouth bloggers or even business owners with a habit of committing website marketing bloopers.

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