Google has apologised following the rattling discovery that people searching on Google Maps for the racist term "N****r House" (or variations) were led straight to the White House — or Nairobi, Kenya.
"Some inappropriate results are surfacing in Google Maps that should not be, and we apologise for any offence this may have caused," said a Google statement. "Our teams are working to fix this issue quickly."
The twisted results, however, weren't completely fixed as of Wednesday, and Google hasn't explained what happened. It's possible a Google Map feature — allowing users to change maps to keep them updated with the latest information — may have been hijacked to a racist end, reports Tech News Today.
Google earlier this month shut down the users' map-making tool — apparently too late to quickly rid itself of the racist search — because of "escalated attacks to spam Google maps," said the company. Some of those attacks including placing "Edwards Snow Den" in the White House and an Android bot urinating on Apple Inc. headquarters.
"What's going on here?" asks the Washington Post. "How does a system of equations — unfeeling, inert math — adopt such human biases?" Call it the case of the racist algorithm. It's humans who create — and manipulate — the systems.