Self-proclaimed hate crime recording group Tell MAMA has demanded that Google review its algorithms to ensure that searches on topics such as grooming gangs and terrorism do not yield “anti-Muslim” results.
Tell MAMA alleged that “far right” groups have manipulated the search giant’s results to stoke tensions against Muslim communities living in Britain, in the “anti-Islamophobia” organisation’s annual report.
“We urge Google to review how far-right websites are cheating its search algorithm through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in order to improve their rankings on stories related to crime, sexual exploitation, and terrorism,” it stated.
“A higher ranking not only increases their legitimacy but may draw vulnerable individuals into extreme echo chambers.”
The document, which looked at 1,223 “anti-Muslim acts” reported to the organisation last year, claimed that any association between grooming gangs and Muslim communities is “not backed by evidence”.
Pointing to alleged “bias in data collection”, the report’s authors described the “overrepresentation of Asian men” in child sexual exploitation grooming gang cases as only “apparent”, and asserted that sample sizes in studies have been “too small to draw national conclusions”.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 31, 2016
In the event of a “terrorist attack associated with extremists from a Muslim background”, the report recommends that authorities crack down on “hate”.
“Police forces should consider how some will use such events as pretexts for ideologically-driven violence and hate speech online which targets Muslims or their institutions,” it states.
The organisation said its work in partnership with social media companies would help them “better understand anti-Muslim prejudice and to promote online counter-narratives that invest beyond advertising credits”.
“High-profile events such as the EU referendum and popular debates around immigration and terrorism play into mainstream xenophobic, racist and anti-Muslim sentiment, therefore, more efforts are needed to challenge such statements and counter mythologized narratives about Muslims and Islam,” it said.
Such “counter-narratives” are required, according to the report, to combat Breitbart London and unnamed “other online platforms” described as a source for “conspiratorial narratives”, with links to “far-right extremism in Europe”.
“Fake news” is mentioned as a possible driver of “anti-Muslim hate”, and is defined in the report as “synonymous with partisan political rhetoric designed to undermine trust in critical mainstream news coverage”.
However, in this section hyper-partisan left-wing media is hailed as “grounded in an altruistic desire to educate the public”, with the report’s authors alleging that it “sticks to traditional journalistic moral commitments that adhere to our democratic values”.
‘Dislike’ and ‘Unfriendliness’ Can Be Hate Crimes, UK Police Confirm
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 25, 2017
Tell MAMA lost government funding in 2013 after it was found to have exaggerated the number of anti-Muslim attacks following the Islamist murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich, but since then the government has pushed “hate crime” to the top of the agenda
A number of official campaigns and initiatives against “hate crime” to have taken place in recent weeks have been run in partnership with the organisation with Transport for London and police having visited mosques across the city, encouraging Muslims to report “perceived” so-called “hate crimes”.