Aug 4, 2023

Right to be Forgotten

In online news, stories live forever. The tipsy photograph of you at the college football game? It’s there. That news article about the political rally you were marching at? It’s there. A charge for driving under the influence? That’s there, too. But what if... it wasn’t?

Several years ago a group of journalists in Cleveland, Ohio, tried an experiment that had the potential to turn things upside down: they started unpublishing content they’d already published. Photographs, names, entire articles. Every month or so, they met to decide what content stayed, and what content went. In this episode from 2019, Senior Correspondent Molly Webster takes us inside the room where the editors decided who, or what, got to be deleted. And we talk about how the “right to be forgotten” has spread and grown in the years since. It’s a story about time and memory, mistakes and second chances, and society as we know it.

Our newsletter comes out every Wednesday. It includes short essays, recommendations, and details about other ways to interact with the show. Sign up (!

Radiolab is supported by listeners like you. Support Radiolab by becoming a member of The Lab ( today.
Follow our show on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @radiolab, and share your thoughts with us by emailing

Leadership support for Radiolab’s science programming is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Science Sandbox, a Simons Foundation Initiative, and the John

THE LAB sticker

Unlock member-only exclusives and support the show

Exclusive Podcast Extras
Entire Podcast Archive
Listen Ad-Free
Behind-the-Scenes Content
Video Extras
Original Music & Playlists