A BBC News representative posted in the Google Help Forums about the notification seeking advice on how to find and remove them:
I am a representative of the BBC site and on Saturday we got a ‘notice of detected unnatural links’.
Given the BBC site is so huge, with so many independently run sub sections, with literally thousands or agents and authors, can you give us a little clue as to where we might look for these ‘unnatural links’.
It is believed that the cause of the notification is due to websites scraping the data using RSS feeds provided by the BBC and therefore the BBC is not at fault, however the concern is that a news site as authoritative as the BBC would receive such a notification.
This is not the first large penalty of recent weeks, Google recently penalised dozens of UK news sites such as Worcester Standard and This Is Total Essex as well as the flower delivery company Interflora.
It turns out Google penalised one article on the BBC website, and the penalty had no effect on the rest of the site.
John Mueller, a Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google Switzerland, said in a Google Help thread:
Looking into the details here, what happened was that we found unnatural links to an individual article, and took a granular action based on that. This is not negatively affecting the rest of your website on a whole.