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Posted at 11:17 AM ET, 09/21/2011

Rick Santorum asks Google to change his Dan Savage-created result

Rick Santorum is not too happy about the first search engine result for his name. It’s a definition for the word “Santorum,” as envisioned by columnist Dan Savage. It does not mean politician. It’s a sex-related, vulgar term we cannot come close to describing on these pages.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum. (Jae C. Hong - AP)

Now the Republican presidential hopeful has reportedly contacted Google to help fix his problem, Politico reports.

“I suspect if something was up there like that about Joe Biden, they’d get rid of it,” Santorum. a former senator from Pennsylvania, told Politico. “To have a business allow that type of filth to be purveyed through their Web site or through their system is something that they say they can't handle but I suspect that's not true.”

Indeed, Google said there’s nothing they can do anything about the results.

A spokesperson for the company told Politico that Santorum has to ask the webmaster of the page to have it removed. “Google’s search results are a reflection of the content and information that is available on the web,” the spokesperson said.

The Web page that vexes the former senator, SpeadingSantorum.com, was created by sex columnist Dan Savage. After Santorum said the definition of marriage is between a man and woman. not “man on child” or “man on dog,” Savage asked his readers to create a definition of a sex act, and the word Santorum took on new life.

Santorum has been aware of this problem for some time. In February, he told Roll Call, “It’s one guy. You know who it is. The Internet allows for this type of vulgarity to circulate. It’s unfortunate that we have someone who obviously has some issues. But he has an opportunity to speak.”

To add insult to injury, Santorum has probably ended up making his Google problem worse in what’s called the Streisand effect.

When Barbra Streisand sued a photographer for taking pictures of her home in 2003, she boosted interest in the photos -- thus defeating her original purpose. Likewise, Santorum’s request to Google will just likely boost the very results he wants taken down.

Further reading: Google goes to Congress

By  |  11:17 AM ET, 09/21/2011

Tags:  Politics

 
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