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Which countries exercise the “right to be forgotten” the most?

March 2024 by Surfshark

With rising concerns over online privacy, laws such as the EU’s GDPR have empowered individuals with the “right to be forgotten,” also known as “right to erasure,“ enabling them to request the deletion of personal data or removal from search engine results.

Building on our previous report, which analyzed over 1.2 million “right to be forgotten” requests submitted to Google and Microsoft from 2015 to 2021¹, let’s dive into the most recent statistics from 2022, exploring the volume of such requests, how often search engines comply with these requests, and more.

Over 155K “right to be forgotten” requests were submitted in 2022

In 2022, Google and Microsoft received over 155K “right to be forgotten” requests, with Google receiving the majority of the requests at 147K (96%).

There has been a decrease of 16% in the overall number of requests in 2022 compared to 2021, which marks the first decline since the pandemic started in 2020. The decline was predominantly driven by a drop in the number of requests submitted to Google, with a decrease in 2022 compared to 2021 (147K vs. 178K, respectively). However, Microsoft observed a slight increase in requests, from 7.7K to 8.2K. Out of the 32 countries that were analyzed in 2022, 28 countries showed a decrease in requests.

France leads in “right to be forgotten” requests

In 2022, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom made up over 50% of all “right to be forgotten” requests. France submitted the highest number of requests in 2022, with a total of 43K, which accounted for over a quarter of all submissions. However, the total number of French requests was 12% lower than in 2021.

Germany and the United Kingdom ranked 2nd and 3rd, with 24K and 16K requests, representing a 24% and 15% drop from 2021, respectively. Italy and Spain were 4th and 5th, with 12K and 11K requests, declining 21% and 14% from 2021, respectively.
Requests per population

When looking at the number of requests per population in 2022, Sweden and France topped the list with 7 requests per 10K people. Liechtenstein and Estonia followed closely with 6 reports per 10K people. Iceland, Norway, and the Netherlands submitted 5 requests per 10K people.

Some countries had far fewer “right to be forgotten” requests, indicating a potential lack of information and awareness on the issue. In 2022, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Czechia, and Slovakia submitted less than 1 “right to be forgotten” request per 10K people. Poland, Portugal, and Greece submitted around 1 request per 10K people.

How many requests were satisfied

Google and Microsoft received 155K “right to be forgotten” requests in 2022, containing 600K URLs, averaging 4 URLs per request. Both companies delisted approximately 56% and 50% of the URLs requested, respectively.

The reasons for not delisting the requested URLs from search engines vary and include technical issues as well as the strong public interest and right to access the information online. By the end of 2022, Google had delisted the highest percentage of sensitive and other personal information URLs, with 97% and 93% delisted, respectively. Criminal information had a delisting rate of 61%.

In contrast, by the end of 2022, Google delisted less than half of the URLs related to professional wrongdoing and other professional information. Political information had the lowest delisting rate, with only one-fifth of all URLs delisted by Google.
Social networking websites were the most commonly featured domains in URLs delisted from Google

Since May 2014, the “right to be forgotten” has been exercised in the EU and other countries, resulting in the removal of 6 billion URLs from Google alone. During this period, social networking sites were the most common targets of delisting, with Facebook being featured the most.

129K URLs were requested to be removed from Facebook, two-fifths of which were delisted. X (formerly known as Twitter), YouTube, and Google Groups were 2nd, 3rd, and 5th, with 72K, 53K, and 30K URLs requested for removal, respectively. Around half of the URLs were successfully delisted for X and Google Groups, while over a third of URLs were removed for YouTube.

Since 2014, Google has delisted a number of URLs containing information on businesses and private individuals. The French directory for businesses and professionals, L’annuaire 118 712, was the most common domain in French requests and among the top 4 overall, appearing in 49K URLs with an 86% success rate in delisting. Societe, another directory for French businesses, and Verif, a global information provider for individuals and businesses, were featured in 21K and 15K URLs with a 30% and 26% success rate in delisting, respectively.

Similarly, Mrkoll, a Swedish website for personal information on Sweden citizens, had 29K URLs submitted to Google, with nearly three-quarters successfully delisted. It’s worth noting that in 2019, the EU fined Mrkoll for publishing credit and conviction information on private individuals who were not compliant with the law. ²

Balancing privacy?

The “right to be forgotten” is an important yet underutilized tool for managing digital footprints, as evidenced by the decreasing number of requests in 2022. Most requests are to delist social media posts, which can affect personal reputations and public information. Despite its benefits, the question remains: how much control people should have over their online histories?
Methodology and sources

From 2014 to 2022, Google and Microsoft Bing received “right to be forgotten” requests from 32 countries. We excluded countries that submitted requests to one company but not the other, for example, Russia.

Microsoft was the only company that reported on Russian requests, even though Russia’s data protection law defines a similar right to GDPR’s “right to erasure.” After excluding such cases, we focused on analyzing the data of EU and EEA countries, the UK, and Switzerland, all of which have regulations similar to GDPR.

We aggregated the two datasets to calculate the total number of submitted requests and specified URLs per country and year. The URLs within “right to be forgotten” requests represent unique web pages requested for delisting from European search results.

It’s important to note that Google presents its data cumulatively per week, and the data for some weeks of the year is missing for some countries. Therefore, we subtracted the value for the last week of each year from the value for the last week of the following year (except for the first year a country had data) to calculate Google’s request and URL totals. This approach means that data for some parts of the year was attributed to the following year instead of its respective year.

We collected data on top domains featured in delisted URLs per country on February 28, 2024. We aggregated different versions of the same website for summary analysis. For example, URLs for and were combined under one domain (

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