Popular author and creator of the “Dilbert” comic strip, Scott Adams, attacked tech giant Google in a recent Periscope live broadcast for labeling him as a “Nazi.”
Scott Adams, the creator of the popular “Dilbert” comic strip and author of a number of books, called out tech giant Google in a recent live broadcast after the search engine appeared to return images of Adams photoshopped into Nazi clothing when searching for his name.
Scott Adams tells you how Google is ruining his life for political reason. Are you next? https://t.co/mcSpE6bjmb
— Scott Adams (@ScottAdamsSays) December 13, 2018
Adams stated during the live stream: “So you know that Google was recently called in front of Congress to ask about, among other things, their bias in terms of being anti-conservative. You may or may not know that I am not a conservative but I talk about President Trump all the time, and I guess that’s enough, I guess that’s enough!”
Adams continued: “So if you go to Google right now, and you Google my name, do you know what comes up? Well I’ll show it to you, so there’s several pictures here on this little slider,” said Adams holding up his phone and pointing to a row of images that appear when searching his name. “The first three are just ordinary pictures, but the fourth and the fifth are photoshopped pictures of me wearing Nazi uniforms.”
“Now, these are real pictures that people have ‘memed up’ on Twitter and somewhere else, but here’s the thing, if you click through to those pictures they are the least, smallest, most minor mention of me compared to everything I’ve been doing for years. So, I’m asking myself, and I’m gonna ask you as well, do you think given that – so one of these clicks through, one of the pictures of me wearing a photoshopped Nazi uniform, if you click through it goes to a fake Twitter account that’s pretending to be me that has only 15 followers.”
Adams asked: “Do you think that a fake Twitter account that has only 15 followers would have enough followers that Google’s algorithm would pick that? Of all the pictures there are of me, there are a lot of pictures of me in the public domain, in articles. I was probably in 25 major articles last year alone, and this one little 15 user fake Twitter account is the fourth image that comes up?”
Google has previously been accused of altering search results after searches for the term “idiot” returned photos of President Trump. During a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was questioned by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) about a specific Google search term. When the term “idiot” is searched on Google, the images section of the website returns pictures of President Trump, Lofgren asked Pichai to explain this, however, the CEO seemed unable to do so.
“Now, manipulation of search results,” said Lofgren. “I think it’s important to talk about how search works. Right now, if you Google the word ‘idiot’ under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up, I just did that. How would that happen? How does search work so that that would occur?”
Pichai replied: “We provide search today, any time you type in a keyword we — as Google — we crawl, we’ve gone out and crawled and stored billions of copies of billions of pages in our index and we take the keyword and match it against webpages and rank them based on our two hundred signals, things like relevance, freshness, popularity, how other people are using it and based on that, at any given time we try to rank and find the best results for that query. And then we evaluate them with external raters to make sure — and they evaluate it to objective guidelines — and that’s how we make sure the process is working.”
This, however, does not actually answer Lofgren’s question about pictures of President Trump appearing alongside searches for the term “idiot.” Google has previously defended their search results relating to this particular term stating:
When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds. Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology. Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users’ queries. We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.
Watch Scott Adams full Periscope broadcast here.