Google asserts that it does not modify its search results to place the Hong Kong national anthem between rows where it appears.
Hong Kong asked that search results for the popular protest song Glory to Hong Kong be buried.
The territory’s commander, John Lee, termed it a “moral issue” and suggested the top search result be China’s national song.
At two recent competitions, the protest song was unintentionally played for Hong Kong athletes.
According to Google’s official statement, “We construct ranking techniques to automatically surface relevant, high-quality and valuable content.”
We do not manually manipulate organic web listings to influence the rating of a page, it added.
Last month, South Korean rugby fans sang Glory to Hong Kong instead of the Chinese national hymn March of the Volunteers.
After searching for the “Hong Kong national anthem” online, Asia Rugby Association personnel downloaded the erroneous song.
An earlier rugby game showed the protest song’s title as the Chinese national anthem was playing.
On Tuesday, Hong Kong’s security head Chris Tang said Google’s algorithm was “unconvincing” in rejecting the city’s requests.
He criticized Google’s response to the EU’s highest court’s rule that the business must erase results about people if they can prove them false.
China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin applauded Hong Kong’s “upholding the dignity of the national anthem” on Wednesday.
He said internet service providers must provide truthful information.
Hong Kong police will investigate if the South Korean anthem mix-up violated national security. Beijing enforced the controversial law worldwide in 2020 to quell democratic protests.
However, the software giant, which is banned in mainland China but has an office in Hong Kong, said it was in contact with the government to explain “how our platforms and removal procedures function”.
According to the corporate comment, “We do not remove online results unless for specific reasons mentioned in our global policy documents.”
Mr. Tang and Mr. Lee both confirmed that the Hong Kong government will make another appeal to Google.
Google has battled Hong Kong authorities before. The national security statute halted data demands from Hong Kong police.
Google-owned YouTube deleted John Lee’s channel earlier this year, citing US sanctions for civil rights violations.