Churchill’s photograph has not been removed from Google

15 July 2021
What was claimed

Google has removed Churchill.

Our verdict

Churchill’s photograph did temporarily disappear from one part of Google’s search results last year. It was restored on 14 June 2020.

A Facebook post shares a picture of Winston Churchill with the text: “As Google have removed him let's share him all over Facebook.” The post was published on 17 June 2020, but it is still being widely shared, with more than 36,000 shares so far.

It seems to refer to the disappearance of Churchill’s photograph from Google’s ‘Knowledge Graph’ in late April last year.

The Knowledge Graph is the panel of basic information that appears after some searches on Google, and which sometimes creates lists at the top of the page. Photographs of Churchill continued to be available on Google through web and image searches.

Google subsequently restored the image on 14 June 2020, and said that it was never deliberately removed. According to the company, the image failed to update as a result of a bug following its decision to use a more recognisable picture.

The photograph of Churchill had already been restored by Google when this Facebook post was first published.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as missing context because while a photograph of the former Prime Minister did not display in some search results for a period of time, the photograph had already been restored by Google when this post was published.

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