Microsoft Bing
European citizens can now make a request to be removed from Bing search engine results.Bing Images

Microsoft has followed Google's lead in complying with an EU court ruling guaranteeing the "right to be forgotten" by accepting requests from European citizens who want to be removed from its Bing search engine results.

A Request to Block Bing Search Results in Europe form has been opened up by Microsoft, allowing individuals to enter their details and the pages that they would like to be removed from search results.

The European Court of Justice ruling in May stipulated that search engines were required to remove certain links if European citizens requested them to do so. However, without official guidance from local data protection authorities, it has been left to the search engines to discern legitimate requests from false ones.

"We will use the information that you provide to evaluate your request," Microsoft's form states. "This information will help us to consider the balance between your individual privacy interest and the public interest in protecting free expression and the free availability of information, consistent with European law."

Google first began taking "right to be forgotten" requests in May and has since claimed to have received 70,000 removal requests. Last month, the search engine giant began removing approved links from its search results but has since restored some of them.

Google's search engine accounts for 77% of the European search market, while Bing's share stands at only 2.5%. Google has previously stated that it was "disappointed with the EU court ruling and has since faced public backlash for the removal of links from its search results.

Guardian journalist James Ball expressed his concerns about the removal of links after six articles were "disappeared" from Google's search results.

"These (articles) should not be allowed to disappear: to do so is a huge, if indirect, challenge to press freedom," Ball wrote in an article explaining the situation.

"The ruling has created a stopwatch on free expression - our journalism can be found only until someone asks for it to be hidden."