Google Axes Hate News

Google has to draw the line somewhere in its mission to make all the world’s information available online. It’s starting with hate speech. has learned that Google is in the process of removing National Vanguard content from its Google News service. National Vanguard is a publication of the National Alliance, which describes itself as an “organization for people of European descent.”

Earlier today, reported that Google Germany would remove National Zeitung, a neo-Fascist newspaper, from its own news index.

“Google News does not allow hate content,” said Google spokesman Steve Langdon. “If we are made aware of articles that contain hate content, we will remove them.”

Langdon said news media must apply to be included in Google News and that they are evaluated by editors before inclusion. He wouldn’t provide a list of news media that Google News indexes, nor would he give details of the evaluation process or criteria for inclusion.

First Amendment issues don’t come into play in the issue, according to Richard T. Kaplar, vice president of The Media Institute, a non-profit media research organization.

“Google is making an editorial decision on who it carries and who it doesn’t,” Kaplar said. “News organizations have editorial discretion over what they run and don’t run. No one can force them to run something if they don’t feel like it.”

While some might criticize Google for banning National Vanguard even though that publication’s writings are protected speech under the First Amendment, Kaplar said, “All news organizations tailor their product to their audiences to one degree or another. One could argue that Google is merely being responsive to its audience (or at least a vocal part of its audience).”

The operations of Google News came under scrutiny this week after Agence France Presse sued Google for copyright infringement. Longdon said Google is in the process of removing all of the French news agency’s content from Google News.

The collision of hate speech and automated publishing is a Waterloo that other Internet companies have faced.

In 2000, French organizations tried to get Yahoo to bar access by French citizens to Nazi-themed content and items for sale. But in 2001, a U.S. court ruled that the French could not interfere with First Amendment protection of speech.

Also in 2001, eBay banned listings that “promote or glorify hatred, violence or racial intolerance, or items that promote organizations with such views (e.g. KKK, Nazis, neo-Nazis, Skinhead Aryan Nation).”

News Around the Web