Google Won’t Remove Racist Michelle Obama Pic

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Editor's Note: This story is from Nov. 24, 2009.

Search Google Images for "Michelle Obama" and you'll find this offensive image as the first hit.

The picture of a simian-style first lady that is rubbing some people the wrong way.

Google is aware of the offensive ape-like photograph, but there doesn’t seem to be much the company can do about it, except to run advertisements that apologize for it and explain its prominent rank in search results, according to

Google posted their apologetic ad at the top of its image search results pages.

“Sometimes Google search results from the Internet can include disturbing content, even from innocuous queries. We assure you that the views expressed by such sites are not in any way endorsed by Google.

Search engines are a reflection of the content and information that is available on the Internet. A site's ranking in Google's search results relies heavily on computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page's relevance to a given query.

The beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google, as well as the opinions of the general public, do not determine or impact our search results. Individual citizens and public interest groups do periodically urge us to remove particular links or otherwise adjust search results. Although Google reserves the right to address such requests individually, Google views the integrity of our search results as an extremely important priority. Accordingly, 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.

We apologize if you've had an upsetting experience using Google. We hope you understand our position regarding offensive results.

The Google Team”

The offensive picture first popped up last week, but Google removed it from their search function because the site that the picture was hosted on distributed malware.

Google's webmaster guidelines prohibit web sites that are ranked in their search results from promoting malicious behavior such as phishing or installing viruses.

However, the latest iteration does not pose the same virus threat, therefore Google is limited in its censorship capabilities.  

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