THE photo of Winston Churchill has mysteriously vanished from Google’s timeline of British prime ministers.
The internet search giant this morning apologised and said it was looking into what went wrong.
When ‘British prime ministers’ is typed into Google search, a black box appears where Winston Churchill’s face should be.
Images of all the other British premiers on the list – from Boris Johnson to Andrew Bonar Law – appear as normal.
Churchill’s V for vanishing act came after his statue in London had to be boarded up over fears it would be targeted once more by protesters.
His picture is now not showing up on the English language version of Google, report users.
And some were quick to point out photographs of Hitler are still coming up as normal on the search engine.
A request to Google for information on what happened read: “The images on the search results are taken from Wikipedia, it’s not clear to me why this would break in only the UK and the US.
“It’s especially interesting given the current controversy around Churchill in our countries.
“Even more interesting is that pictures of Hitler, Stalin and Mao are shown with no issues.”
Whatever the exact reason for the disappearance, people are clearly not happy.
Barrister Ian Bond tweeted: “Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini survive, but Google feels the need to remove the picture of WINSTON CHURCHILL!
“The words I have for this are unpublishable.”
Emily Hewertson tweeted: “Just to clarify: removing a photo of Winston Churchill from Google won’t end racism.”
Dr Craig Buchanan added: “I thought this was a photoshopped wind-up when I saw it on FB, but no – go check for yourselves if you don’t believe me.
“Google has removed Churchill’s picture from its list of UK Prime Ministers.”
Darren on Plymouth wrote: “Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, google deems these pictures as all good.
“Churchill, google deems him to be a racist colonialist, so his picture is no good.”
However, the internet giant revealed the image was not removed on purpose.
A Google spokesperson said: “At the end of April, we received feedback that the image of Winston Churchill automatically selected by our systems wasn’t representative of him.
“The systems had selected a picture of a young Winston Churchill, while he’s more famously and iconically pictured when older.
“Following our standard procedures, human reviewers processed the feedback, determined that the image displayed wasn’t the most representative of Churchill, and we blocked the unrepresentative image to allow the systems to automatically select a different one.
“However, in this case, an error in our systems prevented a new, more representative image from being selected.
“We apologise for any concern caused by this error, and we will be working to address the underlying cause to avoid this type of issue in the future.”
The statue of Britain’s leader during the struggle against the Nazis was vandalised on Saturday.
Protesters scrawled “was a racist” underneath the sculpture of the wartime PM.
Boris Johnson spoke of his anger at the targeting of his fellow leader.
The PM said: “We cannot now try to edit or censor our past.
“We cannot pretend to have a different history. The statues in our cities and towns were put up by previous generations.
“They had different perspectives, different understandings of right and wrong. But those statues teach us about our past, with all its faults.
“To tear them down would be to lie about our history, and impoverish the education of generations to come.”
And defending his personal wartime hero, Sir Winston, he added: “The statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square is a permanent reminder of his achievement in saving this country – and the whole of Europe – from a fascist and racist tyranny.”
Insult to ancestors
By Sir Geoff Palmer
WHEN Google wiped out Winston Churchill’s picture, people were understandably angry.
If it was a deliberate decision, it was as misguided as people defacing the wartime leader’s statue in Parliament Square.
I do not support anybody vandalising anything in any country.
Had a group of black people taken down the statue of slave trader Edward Colston in Bristol last year, they’d still be in jail.
But because it was taken down by black and white activists in the wake of the death of George Floyd, police say it is OK.
My ancestors fought slave owners. Now you’re telling me I can’t walk past a piece of metal in the image of one? This is an insult to our ancestors.
What I want is plaques placed on these statues which give the facts about the slave trade.