Google slammed as 'messed up' after innocent two-word search brings up Nazi memorabilia | The Sun

A SEEMINGLY harmless two-word Google search turns up a shocking and horrifying image.

Writer Jason Pagin drew attention to the disjointed search results with a tweet.

"Question: Go to Google Image Search and look for "desk ornament." Do you get a bunch of Nazi stuff as the top results?" Pagin wrote to his 50,000 followers.

Google search liaison Danny Sullivan replied to Pagin and all concerned or offended users on behalf of Google.

"Apologies for this. Agree not what most people would expect nor desire, even if there are sadly apparently a lot of these things described using those terms (which is what we match against). We'll look at how to improve here," Sullivan replied.

Pagin credited Substack author Scott Alexander with recently flagging the desk-ornament-search-yielding-nazi-memorabilia problem.

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Amazon, Google, and Wish pledged to remove neo-Nazi and white supremacist merchandise from their platforms in 2020.

Google told BBC at the time "We don't allow ads or products that are sold on our platforms that display shocking content or promote hatred. We enforce these policies vigorously and take action when we determine they are breached."

This disturbing mishap on Google begs the question: why would someone want to buy an object that glorifies Nazism?

A Nazi artifact dealer told ArtNet “all my clients are educated people, university professors, medical doctors, as well as museums such as the US Holocaust Museum, and many try to preserve this kind of material for future generations and to learn from it.”

Conversely, a reporter who covered a Nazi memorabilia auction first-hand was thrown out by a buyer who appeared to be minimizing the tragedy of genocide during World War II.

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Replies to Pagin's tweet reveal that "desk ornament" has been a problematic search for Google for several years. posted a tweet in 2016 issuing the same warning about "desk ornament" turning up Nazi memorabilia.

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Monitoring extremism online is one of the greatest ethical and technological challenges of the 21st century.

Google has a forum for reporting offensive or illegal content found using the search engine.

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