Google has apologised for offence caused by vandalism of its Maps tools that meant that users searching for racist terms were sent White House.
In what appeared to be a result of Google bombing — where vandals flood a certain keyword with links to a place, meaning that the two will become associated in Google’s results — users forced searches for “nigger house” and “nigger king” to redirect to the White House.
The company said that it apologised for “any offence this may have caused”. Its teams are working to fix the problem, it said, and Google itself does not appear to have had any role in adding the racist searches.
Google’s mapping tools pick through the huge amounts of search data that it has to help ensure that results are up to date. But by intentionally confusing that system, users can add their own results.
- Users can also set up businesses and then change the address so that they will show up wherever they want. It’s unclear whether either of those workarounds were used to plant the White House results, or whether it was done using other means.
The racist results were just the latest in a run of pranks and vandalism that have hit Google’s user generated mapping system. Earlier this month, the company had to shut it off its Map Maker system, which allowed users to edit its database, after someone used it to draw a giant urinating Android.
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