December #184 : Russians Deploy 'Google Bombs' - by Trenton Straube

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December 2012

Russians Deploy 'Google Bombs'

by Trenton Straube

Alexandra Volgina When the Russian Ministry of Health failed to procure HIV meds for its citizens, Alexandra Volgina “Google bombed” the ministry. As NPR reported, Volgina, an HIV-positive mother and a member of Patients in Control, launched the digital offensive in which advocates went online and linked the phrase “Ministry of Health” with photos showing empty stocks of meds; that way, when anyone Googled the phrase “Ministry of Health,” those images came up. (Famous U.S. Google bombs include Dan Savage linking “Santorum”—as in the antigay presidential hopeful—to a certain aspect of anal sex.) Volgina’s tactic got the ministry’s attention and improved the drug supply. Such innovative actions also helped earn Patients in Control a Red Ribbon Award for advocacy and human rights at July’s XIX International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012), where she gave a talk, “How to Use Social Media When Censorship Gets in Your Way: Experiences From Russia’s ‘Funeral Bureau.’” Bombs away!

Search: Russian Ministry of Health, Alexandra Volgina, Google, Patients in Control, Red Ribbon Award, AIDS 2012

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