Google has reached a deal under legal mediation with French anti-racism groups which objected to the search engine suggesting users add “Jew” to searches for prominent names.
Back in May, this year, a anti-racism group of six including; SOS Racisme, the Movement against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP), the International League Against Racism and anti-Semitism (LICRA) and Memoire 2000, had filed a lawsuit against Google accusing the search giant of the “creation of what is probably the greatest Jewish history file” ever.
That lawsuit has now been dropped but the specifics of the deal are not clear.
The conflict stemmed from Google’s autocomplete feature that suggests what search people might want based on algorithms of previous searches. Because users of Google.fr frequently ask whether politicians, actors or other celebrities are Jewish or not, the word “Jew” in French is frequently suggested as a possible result.
Under French law, it is illegal to record someone’s ethnicity in a database.
Google users “are confronted daily by the unsolicited and almost systematic association of the word ‘Jew’ with the names of the best-known people in the world of politics, the media or business,” the groups said, the AFP reports.
Google also refused to comment on the specifics of the deal, but said it would be working with the anti-racism groups on public education projects.
Google had ran ads to explain in this case and other [similiar cases] that the search results are algorithmic, and that Google don’t endorse them. The Google ad read:
And, here is the landing page of the above ad:
A Google France spokesman issued the statement saying,
“Google supports education and information against racism and anti-Semitism.”
“Together with the associations, we will develop and promote projects aimed at increasing the awareness of Internet users to values of tolerance and respect.”