Google blames Wikipedia “vandalism” for search results linking California Republican Party to Nazism
Google has come under fire after its search results said “Nazism” is one of the ideologies of the California Republican Party.
When searching for information about the political party, users were met by a summary box that displayed “Nazism” as one of its ideologies, ahead of “Conservatism, Market liberalism, Fiscal conservatism and Green conservatism”.
The company has defended the blunder by claiming it was the result of Wikipedia “vandalism” and not manual updates by its staff.
“We have systems in place that catch vandalism before it impacts search results, but occasionally errors get through, and that’s what happened here,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.
“This would have been fixed systematically once we processed the removal from Wikipedia, but when we noticed the vandalism we worked quickly to accelerate this process to remove the erroneous information.”
Wikipedia’s changelog, which is publicly available, shows that an anonymous user added the term “Nazism” to the page for the California Republican Party on May 24, as reported by the Telegraph. The change was not deleted by an editor until a week later, but when a similar change was made on Thursday afternoon, it was removed within a minute.
California Republican Party Kevin McCarthy tweeted a screenshot of the listing labelling it “a disgrace” and using the hashtag #StopTheBias.
A later post by McCarthy said: “Sadly, this is just the latest incident in a disturbing trend to slander conservatives. These damaging actions must be held to account.”
As highlighted by TIME, US Federal law does not hold internet companies responsible for material posted by users, providing they promptly remove offensive items when notified. What’s surprising in this case is that a factually incorrect, offensive edit to the party’s Wikipedia page went undiscovered for so many days.
Now, when you search for California Republican Party, Google’s summary box does not list any ideologies.