Posted in: Technology

Aus Media Gets Encyclopedia Dramatica Story Wrong, Only Some Search Links Removed

wrong

The Australian media (via an AAP story) is reporting today that Google Australia has agreed to “take down a racist site” (Fairfax) or block “links to Encyclopedia Dramatica Aborigine page” (News Ltd).

The report details a complaint from an Aboriginal man Steve Hodder-Watt who typed “Aboriginal and Encyclopedia” into Google and found Encyclopedia Dramatica on the list. Hodder-Watt lodged a complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission in an attempt to have the links removed from Google, stating that the page on Aboriginal people in Encyclopedia Dramatica is “one of the most offensive sorts of racial vilification you could possibly find.”

The report claims that (and it’s the same copy on both News and Fairfax) “Google has agreed to take down links to a website that promotes racist views of indigenous Australians.” “Google acknowledged its legal responsibility to remove links from their search engine to the offensive site” and quotes Hodder-Watt’s lawyer saying that “Lo and behold they [Google] agreed last night to take down the sites.”

We contacted Google Australia today to confirm the story, and received this statement confirming only part of the news:

We respond to complaints and review them by reference to local law. In this case, we have removed the search results on google.com.au linking to the pages identified to us by a legal request. In the interest of transparency, the search results now provide notice that pages have been removed in response to a legal request and in their place is a link to Chilling Effects.

On a side note, I have no problem at all with Google Australia complying with Australian law, even in the context of the broader Google/ China debate currently under way.

The emphasis in the quote is mine, but it’s the relevant part because it would appear that links to Encyclopedia Dramatica haven’t been removed, only links to one particular page has been removed.

That’s very different to the suggestions by the Australian media and Hodder-Watt’s lawyer that “Google has agreed to take down links to a website that promotes racist views of indigenous Australians” and “they agreed last night to take down the sites.”

For example: taken at 12:40pm AEDT Friday 15/1

Basic search: Encyclopedia Dramatica

Encyclopedia Dramatica Aboriginal

Using a racist term

I’m disappointed by Fairfax media getting it so wrong; they’d normally do better. News Corp though isn’t a great surprise: after all, this is a company that defames people for sport, and seems incapable on a daily basis to do even the most basic fact checking.

Of course the ultimate stupidity in the attempt to censor the result comes in two ways: first, the censored results are still there outside of Google.com.au (and many Australians use Google.com,) and secondly, the publicity the story has gained is about to introduce Steve Hodder-Watt to the Streisand Effect. I bet Encyclopedia Dramatica is doing some great traffic and ad views today based on the coverage.

Update: this from the front page of news.com.au

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Comments

11 Responses to “Aus Media Gets Encyclopedia Dramatica Story Wrong, Only Some Search Links Removed”

  1. franksting

    Odd that neither this story nor the Mainstream Media mention that using Bing has the link in all its glory (http://www.bing-vs-google.com/?q=Aboriginal+and+Encyclopedia) – not to mention the preview which Bing handily presents you. Not only is derogatory toward Aboriginal Australians, the preview has some lovely thing to say about Chinese people as well. Is Hodder-Watt or his lawyer going after Microsoft at all?

  2. yiri

    Hi! I’m a æ admin and an Australian. Good job pointing this out, I admit to a minor heart attack before I checked and realised it was complete bullshit.

    ED will be blocked under the Federal Government’s Net Filtering censorship scheme, unfortunately, so in comparison this isn’t such a large issue.

  3. yiri

    You may also like to note that Google hates us to the point that we actually have a template for use in situations like this; it’s on the “Aboriginal” page, and the text is

    “This article was seen by Google crybabies and now has a PageRank of 0 out of 10. ”

    But apparently this time it’s significant enough to get MSM attn. WHO KNEW

  4. Malkie

    No surprises here. The Sydney Morning Herald has dumbed down considerably in the last decade. They OFTEN get stories wrong. They also often just run stories pulled off the wire. And they are often off the pace on their stories – running stuff that other media broke months before.

  5. Darryn

    No surprise, I believe this to be more a case of lazy reporting and lack of care to understanding the issue (tech reporting by the mainstream press in AUS is sub-standard at the best of times) than a geniune attempt to mis-represent fact in this particular case.

    On a side note, cant wait till ‘Media Watch’ starts up again on the AUS ABC, this is the sorta thing I love to see from that program.

  6. Michael Rogers

    Congratulations for getting right what the dullard Australian media can’t.

    Further,the offending page, while not the most sophisticated of its kind is satire. In essence what the page satirises is the fact that whereas Australia as a nation once had proclaimed values that were racist and actual values that were racist, nowadays the proclaimed values are anti-racist, while the actual values remain the same.

    Any attempts by the current Australian ruling class to ‘filter’ such satire would be akin to their denials at the time of the Cronulla riots that Australia is a ‘racist country’ and the repeated claims that there is no proof that the violence against Indian students is, “racially motivated”.

  7. Dan

    Actually, Google has in fact removed the link to the ‘offensive’ page.

    Encyclopedia Dramatica has 2 URLs for the same page. One is /aboriginal.html – which is censored on Google.com.au, yet clearly visible on other Google variants (.co.uk for example).
    The second is; /abbos.html, which, though directing to the same page, is still available on both international and the Australian google search.

  8. Matt

    Yet more people not able to take a joke. The world is getting sadder, and sadder…

  9. Thomas

    I second that, the whole point of ED is being as offensive as possible. If you get offended you’ve missed the point. Whether it’s funny is a matter of taste, but this Steve is obviously taking the thing a bit far.

  10. Anonymous

    Oh no! Someone who i will never meet who has no affiliation with me insulted my ethnicity on the internet! My life is over! BAWWWWWWWWWWWW
    I just think Hodder-Watt is taking the internet too serious