Autocomplete is a feature provided by many search engines that uses an algorithm to automatically display search suggestions to fill queries as information is inputted. These search suggestions are based on a user’s search history, popular search queries, and a number of other objective factors. Autocomplete is an extremely useful search tool, as it may accelerate and refine searches in ways users would not expect. However, despite its benefits, autocomplete has been the subject of controversy. Autocomplete can be potentially defamatory if your name or company is autocompleted with something negative. Even assuming the negative information is false, the suggestion alone has the power to completely destroy your reputation.
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on April 19, 2015. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Popyer, Kacy, "Google Autocomplete and the Potential for Defamation" (2015). AELJ Blog. 76.