Google has defended its decision to refuse the Hong Kong authorities’ request of manually placing the correct information of the Chinese national anthem as a top search result on its sites.
This comes as a anthem blunder occurred previously where “Glory to Hong Kong”, a song related to the protests back in 2019 in the city, was played instead of the correct national anthem at a rugby match in South Korea.
A week after, World Rugby organisers apologised to the Hong Kong Rugby Union (HKRU) for mislabelling the Chinese national anthem twice as a song related to the protests in the city back in 2019.
A check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE saw the song “Glory to Hong Kong” was shown as the top result for the keywords “Hong Kong national anthem” on Google.
Soon after the incident, the Innovation, Technology and Industry Bureau said its secretary Sun Dong had discussed with Google and YouTube about the matter. The Bureau also said that Sun had clearly pointed out to Google during the meeting that some search results displayed incorrect online information, which would not only easily provide excuses for the behaviour of some people with ulterior motives, but also mislead local and overseas netizens.
Google later explained that the search results were based on algorithms, after which the secretary for security Chris Tang Ping Keung described the tech giant’s explanation as "evasive" and "inconceivable".
Few days later, Google defended its decision by reinstating that it does not manually manipulate web listings.
In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, a Google spokesperson said: "Google handles billions of search queries every day, so we build ranking systems to automatically surface relevant, high quality, and helpful information. We do not manually manipulate organic web listings to determine the ranking of a specific page."
“In keeping with our commitment to maximise access to information, we do not remove web results except for specific reasons outlined in our global policy documentation,” the spokesperson added.
Google’s policies state it will block or remove search results related to child sexual abuse imagery or material, highly personal information and spam, as well as content demanded by website owners and valid legal requests.
HK athletes asked to display 'T' sign as they spot anthem or flag blunders
World Rugby apologises for mislabelling Chinese national anthem at rugby match