WASHINGTON — Google inadvertently turned on the comments section on President Obama's Google+ hangout before the event was set to begin Friday, a company official said.
The comment section was quickly disabled, but not before it devolved into a stream of nasty comments and spam common to any other corner of the internet. Though there was some speculation online that the White House ordered the comment section to be closed down, Google says it was a company decision. When Google reps noticed what was being posted in the lead-up to Obama's Google+ hangout, they shuttered the comment section.
"It was our fault, not the White House telling us to take them down or anything else," said Google spokesperson Samantha Smith.
"Google took down the comments after pushing to the livestream because of spam and profanity," she added.
The comments were never supposed to be on in the first place, said Smith. She added that it was inadvertently flipped on when the Google+ hangout was pushed live.
The Google+ hangout was billed as a "virtual road trip across the country," and as with previous hangouts Obama has participated in, it included questions from users across the country. An archived version is here.
The Blaze's Steve Krakauer captured some of the comments on the livesream's YouTube page before Google shut the section down:
Update (5:52 p.m.): Comments are now live on the video again.
Google told BuzzFeed that the comments were disabled because of a technical issue. Comments are now live on the archived version of the video from the hangout.
Evan McMorris-Santoro is the White House correspondent for BuzzFeed News.
Contact Evan McMorris-Santoro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.