back to article In the land of Google, Holocaust denial, death threats – all fine. LGBT? Oh, no, that's sensitive

Google has asked its search quality raters not to assume that users looking up Holocaust denials, or whether women or Islam or black people are evil, are "racist or bad people." The ad giant pays approximately 10,000 people to use its search services using terms that real-world users have typed in and then report back on how …

Silver badge
Meh

Good thing we have a benevolent protector like Google to shield us from "upsetting [and] offensive content."

Nothing could possibly go wrong there . . .

21
1
Silver badge

removing the assumption that the customer is always right

Yeah, wifey was searching for something and entered

imdb the magician

Then she complained that the first 15 results were for The MagicianS

Google decided to "correct" a correctly spelled word to something they thought was more correct.

16
1
Anonymous Coward

The customer is doing it wrong.

Yeah, wifey was searching for something and entered

imdb the magician

Why wouldn't she just GO TO the IMDB directly and then search for "the magician" there? I cannot stand it when people search for sites they already know about. I had a coworker who used to Google the literal string "youtube.com" and would then click the first result in order to go to YouTube instead of just typing the exact same thing into the URL bar. He could at least have used the "I'm feeling lucky" button!

(Sorry for my ranting here, but this is one of my pet peeves.)

9
3
Silver badge

Re: The customer is doing it wrong.

In this instance, because she also wanted results from other sites, but hopefully with priority for IMDB. Otherwise she'd have used site:imdb.com the magician :-p

1
0

Re: The customer is doing it wrong.

Ahhh the joys of 'I'm feeling lucky', hours spent expanding my horizons ;)

PS I had to check it was still there

1
0
Bronze badge
Flame

They have a point

There are actually people who look up Holocaust denialism as a cultural phenomenon, whether out of curiosity or whatever. There are also people who are explicitly interested in the culture of Stormfront and its ilk. It's hard to gauge someone's intent from a search query, and the same presumption of intent could be reversed. Suppose someone looked up "drug addiction recovery;" should Google presume that such a person is a drug addict? There are many reasons for asking a particular question, and a Web search gives very little context for it. Even if intent were known, tweaking search results to provide a particular result is inherently an ethical choice, which Google probably sees as a no-win situation: many people will be perfectly content with the suppression of Nazi propaganda, but many will also be upset with another entity making that choice for them, and then of course there are the actual bigots.

Fire icon, because bigots love burning things . . . and people.

24
2
Silver badge

Re: They have a point

@Throatwarbler Mangrove

You can also have people in other countries looking up these things because, while they understand the concept (it's right there is the term), the actually phenomenon is foreign to them. Like in Australia.

I'm sure I have looked it up because, after hearing about it as a slur against someone, in order to brand them as bigots or conspiracy theorists (or both), the question has come to me: is that really a thing? Like a common enough thing to get some much coverage?

Sadly, it seems that it is but I didn't understand the extent of the issue until I searched on it.

7
1
Silver badge

Re: They have a point

I agree. This is the most positive thing I've heard out of Google in a decade. "Treat your users with basic respect" - there's a concept I can get behind. "If they clearly want to see something in particular, it's not our place to hide it from them."

It's the same rationale whereby if you search for images of "london bridge", you'll get photos of several well known historical landmarks. But if you add a word like "sex" or "porn" or "milf" in there, you'll get photos of something else entirely. (You have been warned.)

7
2

Re: They have a point

"Treat your users with basic respect"

Gosh! What a crazy idea. Next thing some loon will come up with something completely wacko like, just for example, "don't be evil".

Hey, I believe it. Only yesterday I was sitting there swapping medication with my buddies Adolf and Napoleon ... well, he says he's Napoleon but I reckon he's really only Bernadotte, or possibly Mahtma Ghandi pretending ... anyway, we were sitting there making a new hat to keep the starlings out and trying out each-other's medications when Adolf stuck a dose of Napoleon's Penfluridol in his ear and said "Let's treat people like Dr Johnson with basic respect" . Seems perfectly reasonable to me. Wurble worble floop.

5
9
Silver badge

Re: They have a point

I think the problem is not as much someone publishing Holocaust denial crap. It is an attitude "I read this on Internet so it must be true". Address the latter and you will see the former carries no more power than shouty idiot on the street (which they are).

11
0

Re: They have a point

Not really

What about nipping down to a library? Or is that too complicated.

2
4

Re: They have a point

" Like in Australia."

Pull the other one mate. You've spent too much time with pissed galahs.

0
1
Anonymous Coward

This whole article's premise is one of sanctimonious moral superiority. Calling a difference of opinion and policy a "delusion" is revealing. Not that I'd expect anything less.

The creep continues.

18
8

Difference of opinion

"Calling a difference of opinion and policy a "delusion" is revealing."

Holocaust denial is an opinion as it runs counter to the facts. Much the same applies to anthropogenic global warming.

3
12
Anonymous Coward

You member?

Member when search engines just matched keyword searches from a largely tech-literate audience?

14
3
Anonymous Coward

Re: You member?

Member when scammers caught on to that, and your keyword-based search results became 99% useless junk?

I member.

10
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: You member?

Yes but that doesn't justify what we have today!

0
0
Silver badge

Obviously

"... the German government has threatened a €50m fine if these companies fail to delete "obvious" illegal content within 24 hours."

There are things, such as display of Nazi symbols, that are illegal in Germany but not in other countries. I'm sure there are things that are 'obviously illegal' to a citizen of country-X. Will this lead to a balkanisation of YouTube?

5
1
Silver badge

Re: Obviously

Will this lead to a balkanisation of YouTube?

Please? Pretty Please?

5
1
Silver badge

Re: Obviously

Nazi symbols aren't illegal in Germany. What's illegal is their use in glorifying the nazi regime, and only that use.

4
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Obviously

But in practice, I think, the onus is on you to prove that you're using the symbol "legitimately". You can't just put swastikas on things on tell the Polizei to sod off until they have proof that you're using the symbol illegally. If I recall correctly, British Hindus have had to take action to block German attempts to ban their ten thousand year old religious symbol throughout the EU. (I guess Brexit will save them now.)

7
1
Anonymous Coward

Re: Obviously

> I think,

> If I recall correctly

> I guess

Ah, the cogency of internet arguments!

4
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Bronze badge

This isn't happening

"So it's OK to censor LGBT vids on YouTube, but it's not OK to automatically punish Holocaust denial sites. What a lovely place Google Land is. ®"

The LGBT vids aren't being censored. They are just being added to a list of sensitive things sensitive people may not want to see. By default these will be visible still. See Phil D : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoKqPjK75z4

5
8
LDS
Silver badge

"Censor the Internet"

Does Google believe it is the Internet? Nor I believe it's a public space/place - it's still a private run business with its TOS - which it applies whenever is convenient to Google itself.

Of course the real meaning is "we will keep on hosting and never censor any content that makes us earn money".

2
0
Anonymous Coward

> The LGBT vids aren't being censored. They are just being added to a list of sensitive things sensitive people may not want to see. By default these will be visible still.

The point is that, while there is a "list" that restricts perfectly legitimate content which may play a positive social role both within the communities involved and in society at large, there does not appear to be an option to restrict content which is gratuitously offensive or specifically aims to denigrate a group of people or another and has neither social nor cultural nor (intentional) entertainment value.

Google appears to be playing by pure marketing rules: offending minorities is fine, whereas offending "mainstream" consumers is not. At least by some weird and outdated concept of "mainstream".

5
2
Bronze badge

@AC... "Google appears to be playing by pure marketing rules"... Watch the video I linked and others from youtubers like Computing Forever and you'll see that Google is essentially censoring anything that doesn't fit in with their leftist (they did pay the Clinton campaign a whole wad of dosh) ideology.

1
2

hardly surprising

google, like all american companies, enforces it's Judaea Christian fucked up morality wherever it can:

slaughter, violence, hate speech ? sure - have all you can eat (it's in the bible after all)

female breast or heaven forbit, a man's meat and 2 veg - hide it away !! think of the children.. perverts perverts !

8
2

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Forums

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2017