Thursday, 08 December 2016 15:09

Google making its search autocompletes less 'evil'


Google will no longer offer a search suggestion for "are Jews evil" which directs users to anti-Semitic websites. The search engine says it has removed offensive autocomplete results initially spotted by Carole Cadwalladr at the Observer, reports the Guardian.

Cadwalladr explained how Google suggested a search for "are Jews evil" when "are Jews" was typed into its search box. Typing "are women" and "are Muslims" returned "are women evil" and "are Muslims bad," Cadwalladr said.

Clicking those suggestions took her to page results that would lead one to conclude that "Jews are evil. Women are evil. Islam must be destroyed. Hitler was one of the good guys," Cadwalladr added.

An answer box highlighted by Google even explained that "every woman has some degree of prostitute in her." A data scientist urged Google to take action, noting it had "clearly become a conduit for right-wing hate sites" and a victim of "the troll army," per the Guardian.

"It is clearly very frightening what is going on here." Most of the offensive autocomplete results spotted by Cadwalladr have since been erased—"are women equal to men" was among them, per CBS News—though "are Muslims bad" is still a suggestion.

Google says it tries "to prevent offensive terms, like porn and hate speech, from appearing," but "autocomplete predictions are algorithmically generated based on users' search activity and interests" and "may be unexpected or unpleasant." That said, "we acknowledge that autocomplete isn't an exact science and we're always working to improve our algorithms." (Google previously suggested Wisconsin was "stupid.")

Author:  Arden Dier


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