Monkey-like image was the top ranking Google search for Michelle Obama
Have you recently searched for Michelle Obama on Google? If you have, you would have been presented with a rather offensive and racists image of the current First Lady of the Unites States. The top ranking search result for the First Lady is a picture that has been altered to make her look like a monkey. The image is posted on a blog called Hot Girls which contains other normal images of Michelle Obama. (See image below)
Most people would agree that the image is offensive. For those who do not know why it is racist, there is a well established and widely known history of black people being linked to monkeys, apes, gorillas, and chimpanzees by racists.
Despite a number of complaints and protests, the image would not be removed from the Google search because Google has a bias towards free speech, and the offence it causes is not enough to remove it according to Google’s spokesman Scott Rubin.
Google has instead taken out an online ad called “Offensive search result” in attempt to explain to its users why the offensive image is ranked so high on the Google search. Extract of the Google ad is below (for the full ad, read it here)
Sometimes Google search results from the Internet can include disturbing content, even from innocuous queries. We assure you that the views expressed by such sites are not in any way endorsed by Google. [...] 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. [...] We apologize if you've had an upsetting experience using Google. We hope you understand our position regarding offensive results.A different website with the same offensive image of Michelle Obama was banned by Google several days ago, on the grounds that the site was deemed to contain malware that could spread a virus. The Hot Girls blog that is hosting this image currently is connected to Google because it is produced using Blogger, an online blogging tool owned by Google.
Google spokesman Rubin said that Blogger users have to adhere to the site's terms of service, including a ban on hate speech, which the agreement defined as "content that promotes hate or violence towards groups based on race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status or sexual orientation/gender identity."
Rubin did not comment on Hot Girls blog specifically but stated that an image alone does not violate the Bloggers terms of service. He said that a determination of hate speech, under the Blogger’s terms of service, relies heavily on whether a site was "attacking or advocating attacks on a person."
This comes three to four months after Google search was involved in another race allegation scandal (see image below).
For those that cannot see the alleged racist element, it appears that Google search tool finds it incomprehensible that white people could steal a car that the search naturally assumed that the user must have meant black people.
This allegation erupted in August as people started to send the screenshot to their friends. As part of the research for this article, I performed several searches using white people and could not find the same or similar response from Google search.
What do you think about the Michelle Obama's image? Is it offensive? Is it racist? Should Google remove it from it search results?
Tell us in the comment box below