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Instant Censorship, Google Style | Sex In The Public Square

Posted: September 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Google's latest feature is a results-as-you-type-them view called Instant. But in Google's world, not all searches are created equal. According to a NYTimes report, "Some words, like 'nude,' produce no results because Google Instant filters for violence, hate and pornography, the company said." Huh?

As Elizabeth Wood explains, "I certainly don't think that 'nude' should be filtered because of a possible connection to pornography. I wondered what this looked like in practice, and I also wondered what else was filtered. I went to my computer to try it out. I started typing. N (Netflix) NU (Nurse Jackie) NUD (…nothing at all!)…." She and others found an obscenely arbitrary list of censored phrases, like "masturbation" and "penis." Uncensored searches include "murder" and "KKK." Hypocritically, "don't be evil" is also uncensored.

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