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Google News runs
antigay image

Google News runs
antigay image

Photo accompanies several stories about HIV in Russia

Internet powerhouse Google for several hours on Wednesday published an image on its health news Web page with the words "AIDS Kills Fags Dead." The small image, linked to three separate HIV-related stories throughout the day before it was finally pulled, included the shocking tagline and a very small illustration that was difficult to make out but appeared to be that of a seriously ill man.

The image first appeared next to a story about a doctor in Russia calling for safer donated blood; was later linked to a story about an HIV-positive Russian blood donor; and finally appeared with a piece about HIV infections in Voronezh, Russia. It had no connection to any of the articles.

Nathan Stoll, product manager for Google News, agreed to remove the antigay image from the Web site when alerted to its presence by, but it remained on the health page for several hours before finally being withdrawn. "Google takes hate speech seriously," Stoll told when notified about the problem. "Google News does not allow hate content. If we are made aware of articles or images that include hate content, we will remove them."

He also said the image came from a separate source than the news stories it accompanied; the Google Web site attributed the antigay image to Pravda, a Moscow-based newspaper.

Google's public relations office issued a statement to as to how its online news service operates: "Google News is a highly unusual news service in that our results are compiled solely by computer algorithms, without human intervention. Google News gathers stories and images from thousands of news sources worldwide and automatically arranges them. By clicking on a headline or thumbnail, users go directly to the site which published the full story or image."

In a separate e-mail to, Google's public relations office stated that there is no editorial review process for material appearing on its news pages and that no Google employee was involved with locating or posting the offensive, antigay image.

Visitors to the site on Wednesday morning who were offended by the image and contacted Google were told the company isn't responsible for the content on its news pages. Ken Darling of Portland, Ore., who called Google's Mountain View, Calif., headquarters to complain, recounted to, "They told me, number 1, that this is a free news service, and number 2, that it is 'auto-generated,' so apparently it sounded like they have no editorial control over what goes out there, which I find hard to believe.

"After putting me on hold several times, the customer service person told me they really didn't have a way to report it and suggested I contact the news media source that originally put out the article and write a complaint to Google about it. I told her that if this had a different name to it instead of 'fags,' like the n word [that refers to African-Americans], I'm sure they'd do something about it." (

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