For many of us, Google has been a great source of information as well as a reference on social media. But from the past few years, Google’s image search engine has revealed inappropriate results when querying for innocent keywords such as Jewish Baby Strollers.
For example, Google’s image search engine reveals horrifying results for the keyword query of ‘Jewish Baby Strollers’. Pictures of barbecue ovens inscribed with ‘Made in Germany” being pushed by Jewish women are revealed. Most of the Jewish Baby Stroller images revealed by Google’s image search are derived from meme websites who try their best to spoil the accord and create an Anti-Semitic atmosphere.
To add injury to insult, the images include miserable text and descriptive tags appended to the publications such as “Are you Jewish?”, “Do you have a baby?”, or “Get this high-quality German-made stroller”
According to Israel Figa, the results are not accidents but a well synchronized rebellious campaign at the behest of hate groups.
The Network Contagion Research Institute, known for its studies on hate speech, highlighted similar happenings on 4chan back in 2017 as well. They explained that dozens of hate posts used to appear when searching for ‘Jewish Baby Stroller’. Israel Figa says the images and text are deliberately published time to time with hateful motive in mind.
On the other hand, the search engine giant Google apologized to viewers via its’ official Twitter account for the hateful ‘Jewish Baby Strollers” image content and offered insight to users about how the search engine works. On the viral image search controversy, Google stated:
“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…”
The company further added that they have a lot of helpful content but not for this non-actual product as it is not likely a topic normally searched for.
“For “baby strollers”, there’s lots of helpful content. However, for Jewish Baby Strollers, there’s not a lot of results. 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…”
Google added that their explanation should not be taken as an excuse, but they are handling the situation and working on improving their keyword and image search engine results.
“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.”
In additional Tweets, Google shared a link to its policy and stated the images might naturally drop out if the host site deletes them.
According to Brooke Goldstein of the Lawfare Project, Google needs to do more in effort to prevent hateful memes, discrimination, and cyber-bullying. “Google needs to penalize the rankings of websites caught distributing hateful content”, says Brooke while explaining “it not only offensive to the viewer, but also undermines the search engines corporate identity when hurtful content is spread across their platforms”.
“In today’s digital world”, says Israel Figa, “meme images are used to cyber bully and spread hateful propaganda. The use of Jewish Baby Stroller pictures is just the tip of the iceberg. In 2009, Google apologized to Michelle Obama for a racially charged image appearing in its’ search results but refused to remove the content”.
At the time, Google published this response: Sometimes Google search results from the Internet can include disturbing content, even from innocuous queries. We assure you that the views expressed by such sites are not in any way endorsed by Google.
Search engines are a reflection of the content and information that is available on the Internet. A site’s ranking in Google’s search results relies heavily on computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page’s relevance to a given query.
The beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google, as well as the opinions of the general public, do not determine or impact our search results. Individual citizens and public interest groups do periodically urge us to remove particular links or otherwise adjust search results. Although Google reserves the right to address such requests individually, Google views the integrity of our search results as an extremely important priority. Accordingly, we do not remove a page from our search results simply because its content is unpopular or because we receive complaints concerning it. We will, however, remove pages from our results if we believe the page (or its site) violates our Webmaster Guidelines, if we believe we are required to do so by law, or at the request of the webmaster who is responsible for the page.
We apologize if you’ve had an upsetting experience using Google. We hope you understand our position regarding offensive results.