The Neutrality of Google Results

Google has been experiencing problems with some of their search results coming up as racist, sexist, and homophobic. An example of this is when I simply searched the word “girl”, the first link that appears is called “Sexy Girls: Pictures and Photos”. It’s causing some tension, because people don’t appreciate the fact that that is how girls are being interpreted on the internet, which is quite offensive to females. This is similar to when Safiya Umoja Noble searched “black girls”, and the top hit was

I think that most Google users assume that Google is a neutral site. Personally, I just assumed that since it’s such a big, well-known company, the site wouldn’t have any neutrality problems. I also think that the average Google user (including me) assumes that the most “reliable” sources are the first few that pop up in the search. The consequences for this could be that people are becoming super misinformed about things because they are assuming that the first few links they find are reliable information, when they easily could be false. Google claims that they are neutral, and their policy says, “We never manipulate rankings to put our partners higher in our search results and no one can buy better PageRank. Our users trust our objectivity and no short-term gain could ever justify breaching that trust”. However, it has been discovered that Google is not actually neutral. They favor their own Google owned content over non-Google owned content. I believe that Google should be responsible for correcting their search results, so that Google users can enjoy a neutral site.

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