Google Denies Censoring Egyptian Footballer
At the end of January, Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Aboutrika was the talk of the soccer world. Scoring the winning goal to defeat Sudan’s team, Aboutrika raised his shirt to reveal a message of Palestinian sympathy.
It read: Sympathize with Gaza.
When images of the statement did not appear on Google’s image index, the conspiracy theories began. When the image didn’t appear a few days after the match, Google was flooded with enough accusations that the company censored the image at the request of the Israeli government that the Google Images team was compelled to respond.
Matt Cutts lent the blogp-space on his blog to clear things up.
The Google EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) Team said all images could take a few days to appear in the index:
"[W]e definitely didn’t do this," they wrote. "The reason for the delay in the image showing up on Google Images was that it can take a few days between when an image appears and when its crawled by the Googlebot…. No-one [sic] from any government has contacted us about this image, and we have no reason to remove it."
Cutts reminds readers in that blog post that indexing images takes time, and that Google has made significant progress over the years since it once took months instead of days to index images.