Europe's top court stressed on Thursday that Google must remove data from online search results if users can prove it is inaccurate.
The case before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) revolved around two executives from a group of investment firms who urged Google to remove search results linking their names to certain articles criticizing the group's investment model.
They also wanted the tech giant to remove thumbnail photos of them from search results. The company rejected the requests, saying it did not know whether the information in the articles was accurate or not.
A German court subsequently sought advice from the CJEU on the balance between the right to be forgotten and the right to freedom of expression and information.
"The operator of a search engine must de-reference information found in the referenced content where the person requesting de-referencing proves that such information is manifestly inaccurate," the CJEU noted.
In response, Google affirmed that the links and thumbnails in question were no longer available through web search and image search and that the content had been offline for a long time.
"Since 2014, we've worked hard to implement the right to be forgotten in Europe, and to strike a sensible balance between people’s rights of access to information and privacy," a spokesperson said.