by Mike Masnick
Tue, Feb 19th 2008 3:05pm
It's no secret that people are fairly opinionated (one way or the other) about Fox News. I'm not going to weigh in on that debate, other than to note that there's a bizarre story making the rounds on FoxNews.com claiming that Google made a journalist "disappear" from Google due to his efforts to expose UN corruption. The problem is that this is simply untrue, and any basic fact checking by the Fox reporter would have made that clear. The guy in question wasn't removed from Google, but from Google News, which the search engine is quite clear is only a hand-chosen collection of publications, which the company reviews regularly. For better or for worse (and I actually tend to think for worse), Google has set some rules in terms of what types of sources can appear in Google News -- and this guy's site did not appear to qualify, hence the site getting bounced from the Google News index (not the wider Google). However, when people complained, and the guy provided proof that his organization might actually meet Google's standards, Google News agreed to put it back in the index. In other words, there's no story here. It has nothing to do with his reporting on UN corruption or Google's political views. It's certainly unlikely that the UN asked Google to remove him (as the guy implies). It's nice to cook up some conspiracy theory, but there's nothing to support the charges here. The Fox article does lay out some of these details at the end of the article, but the headline and opening certainly make you think that Google vindictively removed this guy from its index to punish him for exposing UN corruption.
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