This week in not being evil: “loli” spirited away from Google search results

We now interrupt our regularly scheduled absence of programming with a public service annoucement: Super Google has done it again. Not being evil, that is. This has resulted in a suprising lack of results if you happen to ask the wrong question. Like this:

About 62 results about “lolicon”, even though the first page advertises 1.5 million hits or so. Login status, SafeSearch settings, private browsing, etc. do not substantially affect that number, and neither does displaying the “omitted results”. See for yourself. For comparison, Yandex claims around 400,000 answers on that search term, and lets you browse 100 pages of results.

More generally, Google has suddenly stopped providing meaningful results to related search queries (anything that includes “loli”, “lolicon”, the Japanese katakana versions ロリ, ロリコン, and possibly more terms), apparently within the last 24 hours. For example, you cannot find the Japanese Wikipedia page about this subject on Google anymore, unless you look up the unabbreviated, much less used phrase ロリータ・コンプレックス (lolita complex) directly. This has caused a bit of a commotion on my corner of the Japanese Internet, including among people known for their level-headedness, like Nakagawa Yuzuru, associate professor of film studies at the Japan Institute of the Moving Image. And I agree with them that the situation is pretty outrageous.

Status report (2010/05)

A few comments on current matters that are too short to warrant a proper post of their own, but too long to just dump on Twitter. Topics include the Google story and other lolicon stuff, the Minorigate, some events I have attended lately, and thoughts on currently airing anime.

Wrapping up the Google story and some more legalese

Some final comments about the “Google dropping lolicon sites from search results” story, and a quick look at related legal problems elsewhere.

As explained in the previous post, Google picked up on a complaint that loliero scanlation site Little White Butterflies was hosting child pornography, and pulled it from search results after filing a report to NCMEC. Pointing out that the material hosted there was clearly not child pornography under US law, the site owners asked on Google's webmaster support forum that the takedown be reviewed. The request has been ignored so far, and it appears that Google has no intention of addressing the site owners' concerns (not even by telling us that they won't overturn the takedown).

Google removes lolicon site from search results


Loliero doujinshi scanlation site Little White Butterflies observes (link is safe for work but the rest of the site is very much not) that it has been removed from Google search results following a complaint, filed by an unnamed party, that it was hosting child pornography. Google also reported the site to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children—a legal obligation for US content providers who become aware of child pornography. The removal can be easily verified by searching for “Little White Butterflies” on Google. The site itself doesn't show up, and a notice at the bottom of the page reads:

In response to a legal request submitted to Google, we have removed 7 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read more about the request at

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