On Thursday, Google responded to recent criticism that claimed the search giant quells competition and is a “platform for piracy.”
In an open letter to European competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia last week, chief executive of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, Robert Thomson, accused Google of being a “platform for piracy and the spread of malicious networks” whose power “increases with each passing day.” Google’s initial response to the letter was to say that Thomson’s comments were “absolutely wrong” and said, “Phew! What a scorcher! Murdoch accuses Google of eating his hamster.” The hamster comment was in reference to a story run by News Corp-owned newspaper The Sun in 1989 that British comedian Freddie Starr had eaten a live hamster named Supersonic. Years later, it was discovered that the story was a fabrication created by disgraced British publicist Max Clifford.
Thursday’s response, a blog post entitled “Dear Rupert,” was more serious than the company’s initial statement on the matter. Google‘s senior vice president of global communications Rachel Whetstone listed News Corp’s arguments and Google’s response to each one. Whetstone argues that Google “has done more than almost any other company to help tackle online piracy.” In 2013, 222 million web pages were removed from Google Search for copyright infringement, explained Whetstone, adding that the company downgrades websites that regularly violate copyright in its search results. In response to claims that it was squashing freedom of expression, Google said that it valued free expression and the importance of high quality content. “Google has worked hard to help publishers succeed online — both in terms of generating new audiences and also increasing their digital revenues,” wrote Whetstone. “Our search products drive over 10 billion clicks a month to 60,000 publishers’ websites, and we share billions of dollars annually with advertising publishing partners.”
Photo: © Creative Commons – Flickr: The Man in Blue.