The Rick Santorum Google Search

President Obama used tweeting, the Internet, and technology to his campaign advantage.  Rick Santorum… not so much.  It is scary, isn’t it?

Rick Santorum is a Republican candidate running for the 2012 Republican Party Presidential Primaries.  Read more about his party platform at his campaign website here.

Dan Savage is a columnist and gay-rights activist who is well-known for his involvement with the “It Gets Better” Project.  The Project provides a support system and outlet to young lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered teens through testimonial videos and other social networking, blogging, and pledging.

In a political outcry, Savage created a website called “Spreading Santorum” which defines Santorum as a lewd sexual activity.  Check out the definition and website here.  As the website popularity grew because of peaked interest and click-throughs, the site moved up the Google Search result list to the very top.

This hurt Santorum’s campaign and caused users to question whether or not search result popularity should be controlled.  Some question whether Santorum can sue for defamation or portrayal in false light.  Does he sue Savage for creating the site?  Does he sue Google for not removing the search result even though it is users that generate popularity?  How strong is the argument when the persona is a public figure running for an election that opens the candidate up to potential ridicule and bad press?  The big question is:  Where is the line on the Internet?

Should a line be drawn?  If a line is drawn, will it hinder growth and innovation on the Internet?  Or will it conflict with freedom of speech?

NPR did a piece on how the Rick Santorum problem has endured and it is available here.

Search Engine Land published a piece on how Rick Santorum is making his Google problem worse.  Read more about it here.  Beta Beat did a similar piece and it is available here.  This blog called the Journal writes about how Santorum needs a online reputation manager.

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