In a rather alarming turn, search engine giant Google suggests Muslims support terrorism.
The problem appears to have appeared automatically, and through no manual input from anyone at Google. It instead seems to be a result of the huge number of people searching for and writing that Muslims support acts of terror.
Upon searching “American Muslims report terrorism,” Google suggests that perhaps you mean to type “American Muslims support terrorism.”
Google’s suggestion was first discovered by a Muslim-American blogger while writing a post about democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s recent comments on how American Muslims are “on the frontline of our defense.”
However, when Hind Makki entered on Google, “American Muslims report terrorism” she was surprised to find Google suggest that perhaps she meant to type “American Muslims support terrorism”.
No Google, I didn’t. pic.twitter.com/hF0vXpjcoc
— Hind Makki (@HindMakki) February 12, 2016
This wasn’t a fluke as when Quartz tried the search as well, they got the same result.
More than often when a word or phrase is typed into Google’s search with a spelling error, it automatically generates its correct spelling as a suggestion.
However, the internet giant’s algorithm also looks beyond misspellings, it looks at the sequence of words one has typed into the search box. The suggestions appear according to how often people have entered these phrases on Google.
Thus, implying that Makki’s discovery wasn’t unreal the suggestion appeared because people across the globe might have searched for “American Muslims support terrorism”.
Makki had mixed emotions when she saw Google’s suggestion. “I thought it was hilarious, but also sad and immediately screen capped it,” she said. “I know it’s not Google’s ‘fault,’ but it goes to show just how many people online search for ‘Muslims support terrorism,’ though the reality on the ground is the opposite of that.”
A Google spokesperson said the suggestion has now been removed; it no longer appears on searches for “Muslims report terrorism.”