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Edit: I rewrote the question based on the associated discussion on meta.

Context

Google created a "knowledge panel" about me which appears when my name is searched in Google. It consists mostly of a link to my Google Scholar profile, a couple of my publications and a picture of a person who has the same name as me. I want to replace the erroneous picture so I claimed the panel, and this involves an apparently strict identity verification process. In particular, this verification process requires the person to prove that they can edit the content of at least two of the profiles which appear in the search results for their name.

Problem

I provided proof that I can edit my professional webpage hosted by my institution and my Google Scholar account, but my claim was rejected (after 3 months). When I asked for clarifications I was told that:

the login screens to your web profiles that you submitted in your verification application did not match with the social web profiles that appear on the first few pages of search results next to your knowledge panel.

I don't understand what this answer means, as my institution-hosted webpage and my Google Scholar scholar profile appear as first and third link in the search results. The issue seems to be about the definition of "social web profiles":

acceptable web profiles on SRP are Facebook, LinkedIn, Soundcloud, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Official website.

  • This list doesn't even include Google Scholar, although it's the source of the knowledge panel so to me it wouldn't make sense if they don't count it as a valid profile.
  • This list includes an "official website", but I suspect that they don't accept an institution-hosted webpage since it's harder and less standard to check a proof of ownership.

Of course I contacted Google support, but so far their answer has been disappointingly vague. They were not even able to answer the simple yes/no questions of whether my academic page or my Scholar profile counts as proof.

I assume that a professional webpage and a Scholar account are probably the two most common types of online "profile" for an academic. I've seen a few other academics' knowledge panels, according to my observations these always include at least another social media profile, such as a twitter account. Since Google employees/contractors themselves cannot explain the rules precisely, I suspect that there is some subjectivity involved. This is why I would like to know if any academic succeeded securing control of their knowledge panel without any social media account.

Question

Is it possible for an academic to successfully claim their Google knowledge panel only with an institution-hosted webpage and a Google Scholar account?

If yes, is there an effective way to prove ownership of the institution-hosted webpage?

My experience tends to show that the answer is no, but I want to check because it looks like their criteria are unclear. In other words, I don't know if they apply the same criteria to everyone, that's why it would be useful for me to know if anybody else succeeded in this way. I might also not have provided the kind of proof that they expect for a professional webpage or misunderstood their (vague) instructions, so I would appreciate any tip from fellow academics who went through this process.

Side notes

I don't have a clue why:

  • They implement a strict verification process for the knowledge panel which depends entirely on the Scholar account that I already own (and didn't have such a verification process).
  • Their system picks up a random picture instead of the one on my Scholar account.

Thanks to the people who explained the problem with my original question on meta. In this version I tried to target the specific problem that I have as an academic, I hope it's now clear that I'm looking for other academics' experience with this.

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  • 1
    The question is now reopened. In case, anyone please bring any further discussion about topicality to the associated meta question.
    – Massimo Ortolano
    Feb 22 at 19:31
  • 1
    I've found myself in a somewhat similar situation, since two or three years ago Omics created a wildly inaccurate online profile of me. I can tell you what I tried that didn't succeed in getting the situation rectified: I tried sending a formal GDPR request for correction to Omics; and after waiting the requisite time (31 days, IIRC), I tried notifying the UK Office of the Information Commissioner of Omics' failure to respond to the request. Feb 22 at 21:10
  • ... although having said that those measures didn't succeed, I notice that the profile has now disappeared, so maybe OIC did the business behind the scenes. Feb 23 at 11:26
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After multiple emails with Google support who didn't seem to understand the problem (or didn't want to), I finally obtained a clear answer: currently their verification process doesn't even consider that showing ownership of the Google Scholar account is a valid proof:

Sorry but you didn't answer the question: is Google Scholar a valid profile for the verification process? yes or no?

In regards to your concern, Google Scholar is not a valid profile for the verification process.

I didn't manage to obtain a clear answer about showing ownership of an institution-hosted webpage, but if even a Scholar account is not considered valid proof (even though it's the source of the knowledge panel), I assume that the institution-hosted webpage is certainly not a valid profile either.

Thus the answer is no, it is not possible for an academic to successfully claim their Google knowledge panel only with an institution-hosted webpage and a Google Scholar account.

Update: my claim was eventually accepted after I submitted my LinkedIn profile as single proof. Normally this is not sufficient according to the instructions, so I'm not sure what was the main reason for the acceptance. It's possible that me repeatedly pointing out the problem by email was a factor.

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Consider talking to your university's lawyers.

As an academic, you're associated with a university, and that university should have legal staff working for them. Since Google's misrepresentation of you might affect the university's reputation, it's possible that you might be able to get your university's lawyers to send Google a Cease and Desist letter instructing them to either take down your knowledge panel, or update its contents to be accurate.

While I'm not certain, I imagine that Google would likely be far more responsive to a legal letter written by lawyers than it would be from a request from lone individual - especially if you're located in jurisdictions like the EU where you have legal rights over how your data is used.

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