Photo: S.M. Entertainment
Leeteuk has publicly lashed out at Google after discovering that the first image associated with his name is that of him in mourning at the funeral of his father and grandparents.
Posting on his personal Twitter account, he mused, “Google, this is going too far. I held it in time and time again before finally requesting for (the change in image) and this is what happens. Do you enjoy posting photos of others in pain? What’s the difference between this photo and the previous one? I have a screen capture of the (original image). I want to know the way to block a portal’s tyranny.”
He continued with a second post, “Have I done something wrong? Putting that as a profile picture on a site, I want to ask (them) what they were thinking; have I done something wrong?” The Super Junior leader then attached a screen capture of his profile as shown on Google, with a side view photo of him at the funeral.
Korean portals, including widely used Naver, often have profiles of celebrities or public figures accompanied by a generic profile photo. Google, however, works in a different way. Public figures’ information is often pulled up from their Wikipedia pages and the first associated image, which in this case can be viewed as a profile photo, is chosen based on the system’s algorithms that bring up the most relevant images according to the search terms.
On their support page, Google has specified that they do not remove most images because the pictures are hosted on sites other than Google, suggesting that those who find the images offensive should contact the original image’s webmaster to take down the image permanently.
As of press time, a search of his stage name in both Korean and English have yielded a changed image: a shot taken from a photoshoot for Korean magazine Singles in 2011.