Winston Churchill photo briefly disappears from Google search

Winston Churchill photo briefly disappears from Google search
Credit: Belga

The disappearance of a photo of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill from a Google search has raised questions in the UK, with Twitter users accusing Google of censorship.

When Googling "British Prime Ministers,” the photos of the British heads of government are displayed in a timeline called the "Knowledge graph.” All the portraits were visible Saturday morning, except that of Winston Churchill.

“Mind blowing if this is a deliberate policy, @Google. Western Europe would almost certainly be enslaved if it wasn’t for the man whose photo is now absent," tweeted Simon Clarke, Minister of State for Regional Growth and Local Government.

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"We’re aware an image for Sir Winston Churchill is missing from his Knowledge Graph entry on Google," tweeted Google's Search Liaison, the search engine's communications arm, which is responsible for explaining its workings. Google apologised for “any concern" caused by the incident, which the group said was due to an update, promising that it would be resolved.

Last weekend, a statue of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill, near Parliament in London, was defaced amid anti-racism protests triggered by the death of black American George Floyd, who was asphyxiated by a white policeman. The inscription "was a racist" was tagged with the name of the Conservative leader, who was accused of making racist remarks, particularly against Indians.

The statue was protected from possible damage by a metal box ahead of further anti-racism protests on Saturday, prompting thousands of protesters, including far-right activists, to go near parliament to "stand guard" around the statue. Clashes took place between far-right demonstrators and police, who made around 100 arrests.

The Brussels Times

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