Former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s photograph briefly disappeared from the Google over the weekend taking the netizens by surprise. A blank box appeared in place of Churchill’s photo when people searched “World War 2 Leaders” on the search engine.
People on Internet were unable to comprehend as to what had happened and why Churchill’ photo wasn’t visible in the results. The ‘glitch’ was fixed after people took to social media to outrage over it.
Yep, happened for me too when I searched World War II leaders. Got pictures of 53 leaders but no pic of Churchill. https://t.co/kpIKhCedHq pic.twitter.com/YD51EthxV5 — Rita Panahi (@RitaPanahi) June 14, 2020
This triggered curiosity particularly owing to the rising momentum of Black Lives Matter protests as people across the globe are tearing down the statues of racist and colonial leaders. In fact, the London administration last week boarded up statues of historical figures, including that of Churchill, ahead of anti-racism protests in the city. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was "shameful" that the monument to Britain's wartime leader was at risk of attack. Anti-racism protesters, who have taken to the streets following the death of African American George Floyd, have put statues at the forefront of their challenge to Britain's imperialist past. Meanwhile, Google on Sunday said that it would probe as to why Churchill’s photograph had disappeared from search results. It cited ‘automatic update’ that caused the disappearance of World War 2 leader’s photo from its search. The search engine giant also apologised for the glitch. “We’re aware an image for Sir Winston Churchill is missing from his Knowledge Graph entry on Google. We apologise for any concern. This was not purposeful & will be resolved. Images in such panels are automatically created & updated. During an update, they can briefly disappear….” it said in a tweet.
We’re aware an image for Sir Winston Churchill is missing from his Knowledge Graph entry on Google. We apologise for any concern. This was not purposeful & will be resolved. Images in such panels are automatically created & updated. During an update, they can briefly disappear…. — Google SearchLiaison (@searchliaison) June 14, 2020
However, Google faced swift backlash on social media soon after Winston’s photo stopped appearing in search results.
Google has removed Churchill’s photo out of all the previous Prime Minister’s photos. Utterly disturbing that such a company can have that power to censor our British history. Shame on you @Google pic.twitter.com/aRC0PY93qs — Adam Brooks (@EssexPR) June 13, 2020
Had to check this for myself...according to Google all pics of Churchill have been wiped from the earth... pic.twitter.com/WEgupeUub1 — Devin Nunes (@DevinNunes) June 14, 2020
Winston Churchill's picture has been removed from the Google list of UK Prime Ministers. This is going to far, the agenda blatant, our history is being erased before our very eyes, we need to fight back. pic.twitter.com/CALQNnh7TE — Darren of Plymouth 🇬🇧 (@DarrenPlymouth) June 14, 2020