A harmless Google Images search reveals Nazi decoration

At Google Images, a seemingly sacred search highlights Nazi decorative items.

Nazi decorative items found on Google Images, including in France? This was the discovery made by Internet users on July 1, 2022, with a request that has nevertheless become the most sacred: “desk ornament”, or “desk decoration” in French. And yet, the first results are full of references to the Third Reich.

Writer Jason Pargin announced the case, drawing on the findings of another Internet user, Scott Alexander. ” Question: Go to Google image search and look for ‘desk ornament’. Did you get a lot of Nazi stuff in the first results? “, He asked. Other Internet users confirmed, in reaction to his tweet, that they can be seen visually.

We also got these images with the same query, including through Google France (google.fr) and not the international version of the search engine. It seems only this request is affected: its French translation shows other visuals unrelated to it. Even the search for the same terms, but in the plural, there is something else.

In the case of a more oriented search, such as the “Nazi decorative object”, images related to the Third Reich can also be found, but these are usually taken from news articles about Nazism or reporting cases about at controversial auctions, either in France or abroad.

We have already reached out to Google France to see if this issue has been reported to them-we will update when we receive a response from the company. The most likely assumption as a lack of filtering in search engine results or a circumvention of the algorithm to bring these visuals up to the top of the rankings.

A first return from Danny Sullivanone of the Google search executives, apologized and suggested the company’s next action: I apologize for that. We agree that this is not what most people expect or desire, although unfortunately there are many things that are described using these terms (which is what we are comparing). Let’s see how to improve this situation. »

Google provides forms for requesting the removal of an image from search results and for reporting content that appears to be illegal. In general, Google is required to respect the law of the countries in which it operates and the company has indicated in its regulations that content that offends or incites hatred is prohibited or prohibited, depending on the circumstances.

Recurring problems on different websites

Previously, Google, which deals with the subject of neo-Nazi products, said, after removing the controversial content: ” We will not allow advertisements or products sold on our platforms that display harmful content or promote hate. We vigorously enforce these policies and take action if we find they have been violated. »

Google isn’t the only company chosen for this. Previously, Yahoo, Le Bon Coin and eBay were also selected. The case was about Yahoo especially at the time, as it raised many legal issues and in different jurisdictions. The topic of accessing and selling Nazi goods is always on the news.

In France, one of the key texts that is often put forward is article R645-1 of the Penal Code. It says wearing or displaying in public a uniform, insignia or emblem reminiscent of what members of Nazi Germany wore is liable to a fine of 1,500 euros, community service sentences, confiscation of items in question and various penalties.

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