Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has found himself in a “Google bomb” scandal.
A Google bomb is a manipulation of the search engine’s algorithm to make a word or person link to unexpected websites.
This trick was first made possible in 2001 by Weblogger Adam Mathes, who linked the phrase ‘talentless hack’ to a friend’s site.
Historic Google bombings involved politicians Rick Santorum and George W. Bush.
In the case of Santorum, a sex columnist named Dan Savage decided to protest anti-gay comments the former senator made. In part of the “anti-Santorum” drive, Savage created an alternative meaning to his last name, which involves having anal sex.
Santorum responded by contacting Google in order to erase the new definition of his name. This action only made the issue bigger in the media.
Former president George W. Bush has faced similar issues with Google’s search engine.
Members of the online community chose to link websites involving Bush to the words, “miserable failure.”
Now, during the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney is facing issues with Google bombing, or is he?
When typing “completely wrong” into a Google images search, countless images of Romney will appear. Google, however, has refused this is the product of a bomb. The company instead has issued a statement saying this search is a natural effect of the algorithm.
After a secret video of Romney talking about the “47 percent” of Obama supporters who don’t want to pay income tax was revealed on Mother Jones.com, he was interviewed by Sean Hannity, Fox News host.
“Clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right,” Romney said. “In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong.”
This statement was quoted by several news outlets, and this is what Google is attributing the search result to.
In hindsight, Romney, instead of the general online community, may have Google bombed himself.