The French government has allegedly requested that Google remove a photoshopped photo featuring President Emmanuel Macron, according to Lumen, a third party research project that analyses requests to remove material from the web.
Lumen’s database shows that a request was made to Google on January 14 to remove a photo that showed Macron’s face edited onto Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner by his side.
The database linked to the picture in question, which was posted on the Google + account of a user with the handle Philippe Petit on December 14, 2018.
For over a month, Macron’s government has been faced with weekly protests from the “gilets jaunes” (yellow vests) movement. The social unrest surrounding the demonstrations has contributed to a decline in the president’s popularity.
Euronews contacted the Interior Ministry for more information on the alleged request.
The French Central Office for the Fight Against Computer-related Crime, a branch of the ministry, declined to give comment to French media, said the Liberation.
The picture was still visible on Google+ at the time of writing.
Photography website, Phototrend, said that the original Pinochet photo was taken by Dutch photographer Chas Gerretsen in 1973.
On social media, some users called the move “censorship”:
Others used the opportunity to unleash their creativity and created photo collages of their own.