While what goes on the Internet may be forever, the Boston Globe is attempting to make what pops up first there more equitable.
The newspaper is launching a new initiative called "Fresh Start." Through it, people who have been written about in the Globe can petition to have those unfavorable articles taken off Google.
Northeastern journalism professor and GBH News contributor Dan Kennedy says he envisions two common scenarios that the Globe had in mind when developing "Fresh Start." First, a minor, but embarassing arrest that keeps coming up at the top of a Google search. Second, an article about an arrest, but no follow-up. Kennedy says this could mean something if the person wasn't convicted, or if the charges were dropped, and the Google searcher has an incomplete picture from that one article.
"I think that in the last few years, especially as the Internet has made it so much easier to track down any information about anybody, news organizations have been a little bit more receptive to this," said Kennedy. "There's a racial justice component to it. We know that people of color tend to be overcharged with the same types of behavior that white people may not get charged for at all. So there's an equity part of this."
According to Kennedy, those unfavorable articles will not be deleted. Instead, they'll likely be removed from a Google search or an editors note will be inserted in the article with an update or context.
Click on the link above to listen to the full interview.