Google Explains Racist Michelle Obama Image
November 24, 2009
(ChattahBox)—-Last week, commenters in a Google help forum expressed disgust towards an offensive image of Michelle Obama, which appears as the first result in an image search of our lovely First Lady. Google was asked to remove the offensive image of the doctored photo of Michelle Obama made to look like a monkey, but at first refused.
A Google employee named Jem responded to complaints about the image by saying, “we do not remove a page from our search results, or images from our Google Images results, simply because the content is in very poor taste or because we receive complaints concerning it.” However, the image was later removed, due to the host site’s potential to spread malware and viruses. Now, Google has changed course and returned the racist image to its indexing, with an ad explaining the reason for the offensive content.
Google’s ad reads: “Sometimes our search results can be offensive. We agree. Read more,” and links to an explanation of Google’s policy.
The link further explains the company’s policy:
“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.”
“Note that if you don’t see the image, you may have your “SafeSearch” settings switched to off. Oddly, it only appears when you use the Moderate or Strict SafeSearch options. Look for your settings underneath the search box.”
Despite Google’s policy, I’m sickened and saddened that people around the world searching for an image of our First Lady would see the offensive doctored photo, as the first image result.
During the Bush administration in 2006, the search term, “miserable failure” brought up WhiteHouse.gov. Google also posted an ad to explain the search result. But sometime later, Google used an algorithmic function to change those results.