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Google Under Fire for Allowing Oven Reference to Jewish Baby Strollers

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Typing in “Jewish baby strollers” to Google on September 25 yielded images of barbecue grills,  an abhorrent reference to the Holocaust. Starting in 2017, there have been various posts on 4chan that combined “Jewish baby stroller” with pictures of grills, according to JTA, who cited the Network Contagion Research Institute.

The company apologized for the “hateful memes” on Twitter through Google Search Liasion, their account that gives insight as to how Google search works.

In their Twitter statement, they said the “Jewish baby stroller” search results did not reflect their opinions. They reasoned “Jewish baby strollers” wasn’t something that people typically searched for, which is why there is a “void” for proper results on Google.

“It was noticed today hateful memes appear in image results for “Jewish baby strollers.” We apologize. These don’t reflect our opinions. We try to show content matching all key terms searched for, as people normally want. But for “data voids” like this, it can be problematic. For “baby strollers,” there’s lots of helpful content. For this, there’s not. That’s not surprising. It’s not likely a topic normally searched for, nor an actual product that’s marketed. There’s a “void” of good content to surface that matches what was asked for. That’s the explanation of why these appear. It’s not meant as an excuse. We’ve done considerable work with improving data void situations & finding systematic improvements. We’ll look at this situation to see how we can further improve. Our apologies again for the concerns here.

It’s not clear why the images are popping up now if they started three years ago. “It’s either a raid from 4chan trolls or it’s a meme that circulated on the web,” Alex Goldenberg, the lead intelligence analyst at NCRI told JTA. “The Google search algorithm is driving it to the top for some reason, or the item in the meme is tricking the Google algorithm.”

In a statement to Heavy, a Google spokesperson said they understood the results were disturbing.

“We share the concern about this content,” Google spokesperson Jennifer Kutz said. “It does not reflect our opinions. When people search for images on Google, our systems largely rely on matching the words in your query to the words that appear next to images on the webpage.”

Kutz said “Jewish baby strollers” do not exist, so the best Google results turned out to be abhorrent content. Google is currently looking into the situation to solve it.

“For this query, which is for a product that doesn’t actually exist, the closest matches are web pages that contain offensive and hateful content,” she said. “We’ve done considerable work in improving instances where we return low-quality content, and we’ll look at this situation to see how we can return more helpful results.”

In 2017, the tech giant faced backlash after a Google result showed an offensive meme when users searched “gender fluid,” the Verge reported. That same year, Google gave credence to 4chan threads that erroneously identified the suspect in the Las Vegas mass shooting.

In 2009, the company apologized again. When “Michelle Obama” was typed into the search engine, a derogatory image resulted, CNN reported at the time.

“Sometimes Google search results from the Internet can include disturbing content, even from innocuous queries,” they said. “We assure you that the views expressed by such sites are not in any way endorsed by Google.”

Source:https://heavy.com/news/jewish-baby-strollers-google-search-bbq/