Google defended the impartiality of their search results after the users in Japan endorsed rumours of an imminent state of emergency declaration by the government, did not get any results on the website.
Climbing coronavirus cases in Tokyo have seen politicians call for residents to reduce social mixing and have led to a slew of messages circulating on social media asserting a broader lockdown is imminent.
Coronavirus cases on the rise in Japan
The government on Monday denied it was preparing to lock down the country on April 1 as rumoured earlier. Google users found that using the search term "state of emergency declaration April 2" in Japanese was returning no results - an unusual outcome on the world's top search site and sparking further speculation of censorship by the company.
The internet giant said on its Twitter account that it is investigating and that "its algorithm is designed to automatically produce impartial results and avoid being impacted by the aims and prejudices of particular individuals and groups." Results for the search term were appearing on Tuesday evening.
The coronavirus outbreak has created a major stir around the world in recent times claiming the lives of over 37,000 people worldwide and infecting over 600,000 people globally. It has been described as a pandemic by the WHO in recent times.
(With agency inputs)