Google is removing auto-complete recommendations because some may deem them “offensive.”
That includes an autocomplete recommendation related to “black crime.” The Guardian reported that for some who began typing “do blacks” into Google’s search bar, the service would provide a recommendation “Do blacks commit more crimes?”
“Look at that,” said Robert Epstein, a research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioural Research and Technology. “I haven’t even hit a button and it’s automatically populated the page with answers to the query: ‘Do blacks commit more crimes?’ And look, I could have been going to ask all sorts of questions. ‘Do blacks excel at sports,’ or anything.”
“And it’s only given me two choices and these aren’t simply search-based or the most searched terms right now,” Epstein continued. “Google used to use that but now they use an algorithm that looks at other things. Now, let me look at Bing and Yahoo. I’m on Yahoo and I have 10 suggestions, not one of which is ‘Do black people commit more crime?’”
The autocomplete result has now been removed for violating company policy, a Google spokesperson confirmed to The Daily Caller. The spokesperson declined to explain the decision further, but provided a more general statement about the autocomplete recommendation feature.
“We’ve received a lot of questions about Autocomplete, and we want to help people understand how it works: Autocomplete predictions are algorithmically generated based on users’ search activity and interests,” the spokesperson said. “Users search for such a wide range of material on the web — 15% of searches we see every day are new. Because of this, terms that appear in Autocomplete may be unexpected or unpleasant. We do our best to prevent offensive terms, like porn and hate speech, from appearing, but we don’t always get it right. Autocomplete isn’t an exact science and we’re always working to improve our algorithms.”
Google returns plenty of results if a user finishes typing “do blacks commit more crime?”