Google have apologised for the appearance of a racist image that appears when you search for Michelle Obama using Google images.
The image, for those who haven’t seen it and do not wish to, depicts Michelle Obama as a monkey. Google have published a statement besides the search bar when the image appears on the screen. The statement titled “An explanation of our search results” says:
“We do not remove a page from our search results simply because its content is unpopular or because we receive complaints concerning it. We will, however, remove pages from our results if we believe the page (or its site) violates our Webmaster Guidelines, if we believe we are required to do so by law, or at the request of the webmaster who is responsible for the page.”
But, as our screen shot shows, the image comes from a website without a Google “page rank”, a key determinant of Google’s placement of web sites, images, and news.
This raises questions about why the image is appearing as the main image in the results page.
Left Foot Forward speculates that that, in a self-fulfilling prophecy, the existence of the image and stories about it are pushing the image up the rankings. Google should perhaps revisit its algorithm in circumstances such as this where an image is promoted up the page rankings purely because of its controversial nature.
The vile image now appears to have been removed completely from Google Images.