Oprah Winfrey Targeted In Racist Internet Scam

Jun. 25 2010, Published 3:27 p.m. ET

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Oprah Winfrey was the subject of a viral spam attack, as Internet spammers triggered an unfavorable statement about the TV icon all the way to the top of Google’s search engine early Friday.

Its complicated, but’s here to explain to you how it all went down: the phrase "oprah riggs contest in favor of african american" was listed as the most widely-searched  topic  on Google, trumping other oft-searched current events such as the NBA draft, and Michael Jackson-related searches on the  first  anniversary of his death.

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The statement itself is in reference to a contest sponsored by Winfrey's OWN network, offering one fan the chance to win their own show. 

The controversy is seemingly tied to the two leading candidates: Zach Anner, a white wheelchair-bound comedian who has 8,245,248 votes, and Doctor Phyllis, an African American contestant who has 6,511,895 votes. Earlier this week, Dr. Phyllis racked up more than 300,000 votes in 20 minutes, causing some to question the legitimacy of the contest.

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According to blogger Zennie Abraham of SF Gate, which is located close to the tech heartland of the Silicon Valley, the search has not been orchestrated by millions of curious Web browsers, but by a few spammer-hacker types who posted an endless stream of spam blogs with the aforementioned phrase in it, causing it to show up on the Google search list.

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By the way, the contest is still ongoing; to enter, check out



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