In the Netherlands, browser giant Google has been ordered to take down the false and abusive reviews that have been linked to attacks on a Dutch nursery.

The child care business, which hasn’t as yet been named in court papers, has won a legal case against Google, forcing the US firm to uncover and reveal the details of the people responsible for posting a multitude of fake reviews that were derogatory, and also that child abuse had allegedly taken place in the day care facility.

A picture of somewhere in the Netherlands that has nothing to do with Google, or the nursery, or, indeed, the court case. Pretty though, all the same.

A picture of somewhere in the Netherlands that has nothing to do with Google, or the nursery, or, indeed, the court case. Pretty though, all the same.

The allegations were made using Google’s Google+ social networking platform, and also on Google Maps.

When the reviews claiming that infants were not safe in the nursery were found by the small business, the owners originally approached Google and asked them to remove the offensive and untrue content.

But the search titan refused to do so, using the argument that the posted material came under the auspices of freedom-of-speech, and therefore they were not obliged, or could find a justification for removing them.

The unnamed nursery’s lawyer told TechCrunch that:

“The judge balanced the interests of privacy against the interest of reputation (of this nursery). However, it considers the interests of protecting the reputation more important than the interests of Google to the interest of privacy of the Google Reviewers.”

Speaking after he made his ruling, the judge in the case, CM Berkhout, differed substantially with the US firm’s point of view, instead finding that the reviews were indeed fake and damaging.  He ordered Google take down the reviews.

Berkhout also made a provision in his ruling that Google would have to provide details about the reviewers so that the nursery could, if it so wished, face the posters of the reviews and allegations in court. He said afterwards:

“In my opinion, it was stunning that Google allowed this, as the practice of using someone else’s profile picture without consent is unlawful and infringing on portrait rights…  and it only helps fake reviewers to hide behind a ‘trusted face.’ Hopefully, this decision will make Google rethink their own policies and the way they enforce their policies.”

Google’s response was characteristically brief, utilizing their normal brevity in matters that have gone against them:

 “We’ve received the ruling and are currently reviewing it.”