#NotOKGoogle Search Suggestions: 2018 Edition

Information pollution through platform vandalism

I’m at a loss to understand how this could *still* be happening. The quality and reliability of Google’s search suggestions have actually devolved in the past year. It almost reads like these input signals are coming out of Reddit, Twitter and other online and social news forums.

February 20, 2018. Below are some examples of what kids are likely to see when they begin to type in or use Google to look up a controversial topic. Why does this matter? It matters because this is information pollution at the most critical interface: search. Google is the knowledge portal for most of the world.

When toxic information — suggestions like the ones seen below — get in the way of people actively fact checking and truth-seeking, it’s a major problem.

Blacklivesdontmatter.

Nazis are the new normal.

Feminist(s) are crazy. Insane. Unhappy. Miserable. Jealous.

The KKK is an example of a Christian organization. Here to stay. Back. Getting bigger. Awesome.

The Nazis were not evil. Not socialists. Weren’t socialists. Weren’t evil.

Black Panther is … too black.

Police are evil. Useless. Not your friends. Corrupt. Terrorists.

Ferguson was a lie. Staged. Not about race. A hoax. Fake. Stupid.

[Michael Brown] was a thug.

Michael Brown was a thug. No angel. A criminal. Guilty. Wasn’t a … superhuman demon?

Mass shootings are fake. Democrats. The price of freedom.

David Hogg actor.

The poor are like stray cats. Lazy. Responsible for their poverty.

White culture is superior. Dying. Disappearing.

Black culture is toxic. Bad. Taking over America. The problem. Destructive. Inferior. Degenerate.

We’re at a critical juncture in social cohesion & the role of tech in society. The walls have been breached; platforms are now getting vandalized in broad daylight. The suggestion below isn’t offensive, but it’s no less frightening. Because [ “ ] instead of [ ‘ ] is a common fast-typing (shift key) error, these results might be from searches under duress that originate from a shared home computer.

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Professor and researcher in news, journalism, and #hashtags. Award-nominated data journalist. Media, communication, and technology.

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Jonathan Albright

Jonathan Albright

Professor and researcher in news, journalism, and #hashtags. Award-nominated data journalist. Media, communication, and technology.

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