A new web search trick is making the rounds on the internet: Type in the word “idiot” as your Google search term and your screen will be flooded with images of President Donald Trump.
The image onslaught is apparently the result of a campaign by online activists unhappy with the president’s policies who are manipulating Google’s algorithm by linking the word to an image of Trump. The trend began with Reddit users upvoting a post containing a photo of Trump and the word, The Guardian reported Tuesday.
Subsequently, the image results were apparently fueled by thousands of upvotes for Reddit posts containing news stories about the word, the president’s image and the overall campaign.
Google’s secret algorithms help organize and prioritize information presented in search results. They made Google one of the most powerful companies on the planet, but they have also gotten the web giant into trouble.
In 2015, a black web developer revealed that a feature that automatically categorizes photos, like cars or beaches, hadGoogle immediately apologized and pledged to fix the bug.
After an offensive caricature of First Lady Michelle Obama appeared as the first result for searches on her name in 2009, Googleexplaining how algorithms generate search results.
“Search engines are a reflection of the content and information that is available on the Internet. A site’s ranking in Google’s search results relies heavily on computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page’s relevance to a given query,” Google said in 2009.
While Google doesn’t interfere with search results, it does tinker with the recipe regularly. In 2010, Matt Cutts, who was then a principal engineer at Google responsible for keeping spam out of search results, said Google “tends to make a change to our core search algorithms at least once a day.”
Google and the White House didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
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