Google’s Islamic “Bug”

I have to admit this is quite a strange little anomaly on the part of Google. It seems that if you enter the search expression “islam is” (minus quotes of course) Google offers no suggestions at all, whereas the same expression used with other religions readily offers up a number of prompts (mostly pejorative in nature — e.g., “christianity is”… bullshit; not a religion; a lie; a cult; wrong; fake; et cetera).

Google officials purport this anomaly is a “bug” of some kind in their algorithm; a claim that I think seems more than a bit dubious, all considered. But who knows? Go try it yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Just for fun, here’s what Google offers up on the Dear Leader using the exact same kind of search.

Michael Ignatieff’s result (just two suggestions, one being “an idiot”) is much less amusing.



Filed under Internet/Social Media, Michael Ignatieff, Stephen Harper

26 responses to “Google’s Islamic “Bug”

  1. “Barack Obama is your new bicycle” tops out the “Barack Oabma is” suggestions.


  2. LOL

    That “site” is pretty funny.


    And so on…

  3. I just found out that “the pope is” both “a nazi” and “jewish.” I’ll have to tell that to the beeny-wearing circumsized Colonel Ratzinger.

    Benny 16 loves his beeny.

  4. It should be “circumcised,” but how fitting.

  5. Tomm


    Don’t get me going.

    I’m already looking over my shoulder.

  6. I’m leading credence to the bug, or unexpected result. Type “all muslims” or “muhammad was” and look at the results.

  7. Also start with “the islamic ” and progress to “the islamic t”

    If Google is sanitizing negative commentary, they’re doing it wrong.

  8. Better yet compare that to the results for “All Christians”.

    I was actually skeptical about this being a bug, but it’s starting to look more and more that way. Computer code being unpredictable, and all that.

  9. Ti-Guy

    I don’t think it’s a bug at all. It’s does Google absolutely no good to expose one segment of its users, one that isn’t particularly tolerant of blasphemy at that, to the never-ending provocations of Internet cretins.

    Google isn’t 100% altruistic, as we’ve seen with its dealings with China. I can see it making a similar cost/benefit analysis here and determine that holding to principle just isn’t worth it. That’s pretty standard for corporations.

    That said, if a plausible explanation comes to light, I’ll change my mind. But I have a really hard time understanding this curious exception when it comes to a rather simple algorithm that stores queries and retrieves them later for suggested searches.

    Google caches a lot of its information in widely distributed network of servers. Who knows? Maybe some botnet is exerting some influence of some kind. Maybe Skynet has in fact become sentient, at which point which it decided to become a Muslim?

    Oh my God!!

  10. Maybe Skynet has in fact become sentient…

    How soon can we expect the Allahminators?

  11. I can actually see Ti’s argument on this one, but I find there’s one particular problem with it:

    IF that’s the case, Google seems to be privileging one group that’s continuously “under attack from internet cretins” over other groups that are equally so.

    Google tends to make the decision that stands to make them the most money. I can’t say that this one would fit the bill.

  12. Ti-Guy

    How soon can we expect the Allahminators?

    I imagine a lot bladders get a little twitchy at that thought, eh?

  13. Okhropir rumiani

    I believe Google wouldn’t recognize climategate either for awhile although that’s no longer the case.

    The first thing I get for “Allah is…” is “Allah is Satan”.

  14. I get that at number three.

    “Prophet Muhammad”, turns up “wives”, and (predictably), “cartoons”.

  15. Or maybe they haven’t got “permission” to use the word yet and don’t want to get firebombed.

  16. Ti-Guy

    The latest edition of NPR’s On the Media discusses how Google’s had to address objectionable content in India with respect to inflaming communal strife and how China’s learned (from the America, it seems to me) that people will willingly put up with official propaganda as long as they can shop.

  17. Ti-Guy

    Or maybe they haven’t got “permission” to use the word yet and don’t want to get firebombed.

    Aren’t corporations supposed to behave that way? Do you think Google’s shareholders/stakeholders around the World really care that “Islam is nazi bestial pedophilia” (in English) isn’t offered as a search recommendation?

    I’m actually only being contrarian on this issue because Islam, which incorporates the prophets of both Judaism and Christianity considers defamation of them to be blasphemy as well. Believers of those two faiths are under no such obligation, or so they believe, anyway.

  18. I kinda got the impression that the default point is that it recommends whatever people have searched.. and it’s only “special” areas that have the default removed.

    So as you say..

    “Christianity is.. bullshit.. not a religion.. fake.. a cult.. a lie.. false.. dying.”

    “Buddhism is.. wrong.. not what you think.. a lie.. ..wrong.. satanic ..bullshit.”

    “Hinduism is.. ..fake ..wrong ..bullshit ..not a religion”

    ..and so on, for pretty much every major religion, except Islam.


    The only “bug” happens to be that particular religion. The one where, when it gets criticized, the extremist adherents bomb and kill people because of it.

    Pretty convenient “bug”.

    I agree that in a business, one assumes it is preferrable not to alienate customers.. but in a search engine, it feels a little bit, well, creepy to know they are censoring what we read in favor of Islam, but are oblivious to perhaps offending all of the other world religions.

    Well.. at least we can still get the Google suggestion that..

    “Barack Obama is.. ..not black.”

  19. Ti-Guy

    The one where, when it gets criticized, the extremist adherents bomb and kill people because of it.

    Yeah. In countries where Google does business. So what exactly is the issue here? It’s not Google’s role to socially-re-engineer cultures to become more tolerant of blasphemy, is it?

    but in a search engine, it feels a little bit, well, creepy to know they are censoring what we read in favor of Islam, but are oblivious to perhaps offending all of the other world religions.

    I’m so tired of people calling everything “censorship.” It has taken on the meaning that when one is not having offense shoved in one’s face (like say, when they’re sitting at their computer, typing in a Google search) those who want to offend them are being censored because they can’t. What we might be seeing here is preferential treatment, not censorship.

    Nothing is stopping anyone from formulating the search “Islam is nazi bestial pedophilia”to find out who’s written that and where. If Google is excluding that documented information from its indexing altogether, then that would be censorship.

    I’ll be interested in finding out what’s really going on, though.

  20. counter-coulter

    Ah yes, Google doesn’t come up with the some default searching for “Islam is” must be proof to those on Fox & Friends (I guess Rob too) that the Caliphate must be at hand. Pffft.

    As to T-G’s point, I wholeheartedly agree that a company not suggesting something is not censorship. The same way that a company choosing not to publish a book is not censorship either.

  21. Guzzeuntite

    “I’ll be interested in finding out what’s really going on, though.” — Tigger

    This is what’s going on:

  22. Ti-Guy

    بسلق الحمص سلقا كافيا إلى ان يستوي الحمص يصورة جيدة, يهرس الحمص بأداة خشبية خاصة أو بواسطة ماكنة ست البيت الكهربائية, يضاف للحمص المسلوق قليلا من الثوم المهروس (حسب الرغبة) و عصير ليمون الحامض والملح وكمية من الطحينية (عصير السمسم), يخلط المواد و تمزج بصورة جيدة ثم توضع في صحن مناسب وتغطى بطبقة خفيفة من زيت الزيتون أو دهن المذاب الساخن (السمن البلدي).

    تقدم كوجبة كاملة أو كمقبلات.
    [عدل] وصلات خارجية

  23. counter-coulter

    Thanks Guzz for putting up a link to the painfully unfunny, groanfest known as the 1/2 Hour News Hour: “They’re all brown people with funny sounding, middle-eastern names…hahaha” Yeah, that show was a regular laugh-riot. How long did that run for again? Oh yeah…7 months.

  24. Okhropir rumiani

    Heres a really neat thing to goof around with:

    Google’s auto seer

  25. Guzzeuntite

    “They’re all brown people with funny sounding, middle-eastern names…hahaha'” – cc

    See? You made my point for me.


    Yea me!

  26. Guzzeuntite

    Tigger, I’d go with the ghee.

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