In the connected world that we live in, we have access to all kinds of information coming from all around which has indeed given a whole new meaning to words like fake news and propaganda on the internet. Therefore social networking sites have often been questioned for a variety of things from spreading fake news to even influencing the result of an election. Google's CEO Sundar Pichai was recently questioned as to why the photo of US President Donald Trump appears when one types the word 'Idiot' on Google search. While Pichai had a detailed answer to that we'll tell you what really happens since Trump is not the first (or the last) victim to what is called Google Bombing.
Earlier in 2018, The Guardian published a story highlighting an issue with Google image search. Whenever the word “idiot” was typed in Google image search, it would return US President Donald Trump as the leading result. Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified in front of Congress to answer. He explained the standard technicality that goes behind Google search: Google crawls through pages that include a keyword that users type in Google search. Based on various parameters such as the relevance and popularity of web pages and much more, Google ranks and prioritises returned results.
“This is working at scale, and we don’t manually intervene on any particular search result,” said Pichai in his testimony.
What Pichai said is a vague explanation that clearly tries to distance the company from a bigger picture. However, The Guardian story from earlier this year suggests a far worse possibility. The story went on to explain that upon typing the word “idiot” into Google’s image search, Trump was the first returned result due to protesters using Green Day song American Idiot to protest against Trump’s trip to London. However, there may have also been a coordinated campaign on Reddit to manipulate Google’s algorithm, trying to link the word idiot to Donald Trump’s picture. The story explained that it involved Redditors upvoting a picture of Donald Trump linked to the word “idiot.”
Google Bombing is a Black-hat Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) technique with an aim to manipulate Google’s search algorithm into returning a particular kind of search results.