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Google: Please Stop Telling Lies About Me (ehudreiter.com)
130 points by Pattio 55 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 104 comments

Seeing as how the author was indeed born in Israel, I figured at first that it was unreasonable to complain, since like or or not he was probably an Israeli citizen.

However, looking into Israeli citizenship law, I learned that Israel does not have birthright citizenship. So he was not automatically a citizen despite being born there. Had his parents been Israelis (and that doesn't appear to be the case), he would be Israeli.

It's true that he's likely eligible to claim Israeli citizenship through the law of return. But being eligible for Israeli citizenship isn't the same as having it.

So I do understand the annoyance. It's not just a technicality--he actually doesn't have Israeli citizenship. Google's algorithm appears to assume all countries practice birthright citizenship like the US (when many, probably most, do not).

> probably most, do not

Indeed, as a rule of thumb ius soli is found mainly in American countries: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jus_soli

Is there a set of circumstances that could result in someone being born in Israel without gaining citizenship, while also not getting citizenship in the country their parents were from?

I think that in the vast, vast majority of countries (all of them?), you receive the citizenship of your parents, regardless of the country in which you're born.

So unless therhttps://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=jnbichee's a country where this is not the case, the situation you're describing would not occur. And if there is such a country, the problem would not be unique to Israel, since birthright citizenship is not practiced in many (most?) countries.

Edit: Interesting. As user cwzwarich points out, it appears that India is indeed such a country. So looks like it's possible to be stateless at birth if you're Indian and born in one of the many countries without birthright citizenship. That said, all an Indian citizen has to do if that happens is to report the birth at an Indian embassy within 1 year of the birth, and then the child is an Indian citizen. But if your parents are irresponsible or unaware of the law...

"I think that in the vast, vast majority of countries (all of them?), you receive the citizenship of your parents, regardless of the country in which you're born."

For the UK at least, it's not that simple, unless your parents were born in the UK. If your parents citizenship is due solely to one/both of your grandparents being UK citizens (i.e. your parents were also born overseas), you might not be entitled to UK citizenship.

I don't recall the details, but IIRC you need to live in the UK for some time in order to pass on citizenship to your child.

The US has similar rules.

> The US has similar rules.

US doesn't have citizenship by descent (the grandparents situation you're describing). So it has no similar rules.

The situation I'm describing is different from what you call 'citizen by descent'.

I'm describing a situation in which:

- grandparent was a UK citizen born in UK

- parent was born outside UK, but had UK citizenship at birth

- child was both outside UK, and is not automatically a UK citizen, because parent didn't ever live in the UK

The US has similar rules. They determine what happens to a child if at least one parent is a US citizen, but that parent was born outside the US. If the parent lived in the US for many years (I don't recall the exact #), then the child gets US citizenship. If the parent never lived in the US, then there are other conditions that may or may not result in the child getting citizenship.

Yes it does. It can get complex, but in the simplest case, if your parents are married and both citizens, you will be to, no matter where you were born.

I'm well aware of this, since I have close family that your situation applies to. Actually, if your parents are married and even one is a US citizen, you will be too, always.

This may just be a terminology disagreement, but that's typically not what is considered "citizenship by descent".

What we're describing is considered by the US to be "citizenship by parents" or "acquired citizenship". On the other hand, "citizenship by descent" is the European tradition of awarding citizenship to grandchildren and even great-grandchildren of citizens. The US doesn't have citizenship by descent (in fact, it's true that there's a single situation when your grandparent's citizenship can matter to someone trying to assert US citizenship, but it's only as a kind of "tiebreaker" if your parents weren't married and one was a US citizen).

> > in the simplest case, if your parents are married and both citizens, you will be to, no matter where you were born.

> I'm well aware of this, since I have close family that your situation applies to. Actually, if your parents are married and even one is a US citizen, you will be too, always.

You are both wrong.

If both parents are US citizens and at least one of them has ever been a resident of the US or one of itd outlying possessions, you acquire citizenship at birth.

If your parents are married, one is a US citizen, and the other a non-citizen national, the US citizen parent must have been resident in the US for at least one year for you to automatically acquire citizenship at birth.

If the non-citizen parent isn't a national, the citizen parent must be resident in the US for five years, at least two of which were after the age of 14.


> Actually, if your parents are married and even one is a US citizen, you will be too, always.

Interestingly it's even more subtle than this: you can be a US citizen, but if you haven't spent enough time living in the US (for a definition of "enough" when years spent as a child count for more) then your citizenship doesn't automatically pass on to your children.

There was an interesting case recently where the Daesh terrorist Neil Prakash had his Australian citizenship revoked illegally (according to both Australian and International law).

His father had emigrated to Australia from Fiji, met a Cambodian woman and had a child. Father and son eventually became Australian citizens.

In any case, Australia enacted a law recently that allowed them to revoke citizenship of terrorists if they held dual citizenship.

The Australian govt revoked Prakash's citizenship, asserting that he also held Fijian citizenship.

The Fiji govt disputed this, asserting that Prakash was not a Fijian citizen, had never been one, and hadn't so much as stepped foot in Fiji. They said that he had qualified for Fijian citizenship by virtue of being born overseas to a Fiji citizen, but that since his father had never applied for citizenship for his son, it was never granted to him. Fijian citizenship is only granted automatically to children of a Fijian parent born on Fijian soil.

By stripping this Aussie of his citizenship and making him stateless, Australia acted illegally according to both their own laws as well as international law.


This sort of thing is technically possible for children of Indian citizens born in countries without birth citizenship, see e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_nationality_law#Citizen.... Given that millions of Indians live in Persian gulf countries with these sorts of citizenship laws, I wonder if it has ever happened.

Statelessness absolutely does happen. On 13 November 2018, Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said there are about 12 million stateless people in the world.

I did find this, but prompting discussion to read on hacker news instead is so much more interesting :)

>Seeing as how the author was indeed born in Israel

And Google notes this in the knowledge box. Above where it says he is born it states: Israeli computer scientist

I would say in most cases you could make the leap that someone born somewhere is an X computer scientist. In this case, it isn't correct.

The more concerning thing about this is Google's lack of attention to the feedback reports they solicit for knowledge box. I've put a couple through in the past and they haven't change the information. Who knows.

Maybe the feedback process exists to gauge what actually needs to change? <100 requests and it is ignored.


After I posted this I made a feedback request and immediately received this back from Google:

"Thank you for submitting feedback for Ehud Reiter.

We're currently processing other feedback related to this topic so the changes you requested might already be underway.

Here’s your submission:


He is not Israeli.


If accepted, this suggested edit will be added to the Knowledge Graph, where it will help Google return richer information and more meaningful results to users’ queries. Your submission is governed by Google's Terms of Service and will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy. If you are the authorized representative for this entity, please review these guidelines on the process to get verified."

> I would say in most cases you could make the leap that someone born somewhere is an X computer scientist.

In most countries of the world, this is not the case. As a general rule, only the countries North/South America practice ius soli, or birthright citizenship.

I think the point is that most humans are currently citizens of the country that they were born in, if that country still exists. It may not be automatic by law, but this difference doesn't apply to a large proportion of the population.

I hate it when people call being wrong "lying." This is a semantic argument. He was born there so it could be argued that Israeli is technically accurate. I hate it when people call being wrong "lying."

As noted in the article, it could be also be argued that Ted Cruz is a well-known Canadian politician, but at some point you move from "technically right" to just "wrong", and I think that easily passes it. Ted Cruz is not a Canadian politician, and it's not even technically accurate to say he is.

(The distinction between being "wrong" and "lying" I'll grant you, but I suspect the author is a bit peeved, and should be excused for using hyperbolic language when being ignored by Google's famously amazing customer service.)

So what is the distinction anyway between lying and being wrong?

Is the dividing line between wrong and "plain lying" whether someone has cold customer service? Is that why my buggy programs are just wrong, whereas Google is engaged in dishonesty? Or is hyperbole just dishonesty here.

Being wrong once without intent to be wrong is not lying.

In this case, Google continues to repeat wrong information long after being corrected multiple times. At this point, it's fair to say they are lying.

It's not lying. Maybe it's being wrong, maybe it's negligence, but it's not lying. It's not like they're trying to display the wrong information. The algorithm isn't a person. It's not as simple as saying "oh, our algorithm messed up, we'll kindly tell it to say that you live over there from now on".

I wouldn't call it lying, I'd call it a sub-optimal algorithm design.

Generally, the person or group of people behind an algorithm needs to be fully accountable and responsible for the algorithm they use to interact with the world.

If saying: "it's not me, it's the algorithm" gets you out of the responsibility you can do all kinds of morally questionable things.

(edit: grammeer)

"It's not me, it's the killbot algorithm I designed, patented, and licensed!"

In seriousness, though, I agree and we're already way behind the eight-ball on this one, given predictive policing and bail algorithms.

Wikipedia and Buzzfeed and other websites suffer from being wrong as well. Trying to get a bias in the news to get more clicks that might be wrong.

At what point does it become fake news or just being wrong?

To me, it's about intent. If they are unknowingly wrong, they aren't lying. As soon as somebody informs them of the error, if they continue to report falsehoods, they are lying (and have now become fake news). It doesn't matter if the falsehood is generated by an algorithm or a person, or if the falsehood is malicious or not - as soon as they know they are wrong, they should take action to correct whatever has been published.

According to the author, he was asked by Google to give feedback on the info they had about him. He did, and they ignored it.

What will it take before you consider them to be lying?

That's not the definition of lying. Lying is about intent. If you keep using that word wrong, you'll end up saying something that isn't true. Are you lying?

Being wrong is not the same thing as lying, or else everything wrong becomes lying and the word "lying" loses its meaning. No one wants to be wrong. That is where intent comes into play.

I guess my comment came off a little harsh.

I was actually interested in at what point this should be considered intentional. At what point should Google be obligated to hide this (mis)information, or show some disclaimer? After one "feedback"? After 10? After this blogpost? After a newspaper article?

  Lying is about intent. 
Intent or reckless disregard for truth.

If, for example, I write that MIT has assembled a robot army with the aim of taking over Canada, I don't know for a fact that is false.

Slander and libel use that standard.

If continuing to spread the falsehood after multiple corrections doesn't attach intent, what could Google possibly do for you to think they were lying in a search result?

Google isn't a single person saying sentences who can immediately change what he says in his next sentence. Changing Google results is not trivial, the search engine has lots of quirks and is a complex code. If you ask Google to change something, you need to submit a ticket, which is in line with thousands of other tickets. That ticket needs to get evaluated by a customer support team, which sends it to another team, which sends it to another team. Google is a gargantuan entity and things take time. It is very easy to see how this lack of change can arise from something other than malicious intent. I highly doubt Google is intentionally trying to taint this one man's reputation.

TLDR: Never attribute to malice what can adequately be explained by stupidity.

So there is no possible situation in which you would say Google was lying in a search result?

Any possible situation? Of course there is. This one? Highly unlikely. There's no way Google cares enough about this guy to lie about him. Apparently, they don't even care enough about him to fix the error in their search result. Poor guy, he's in the "famous but not famous enough" valley.

But the question that's been asked 3 times now in this thread is what it would take for Google to be considered lying. If I don't establish that, how can we discuss whether this qualifies?

I feel like we're beating a dead horse at this point. If someone at Google intentionally modified the result output to say X where X is false, then that would be considered lying.

Would you consider it lying if someone at Google reviewed his request, understood it to be true, and then did not change the incorrect information?

I think you know what I'm gonna say. No, it's not "lying". Stop using that word, or look up the definition already. Use a better word like "negligence".

I honestly thought you were going to agree that this would be a lie. I thought you were saying lies are about knowingly spreading a falsehood. Once someone at Google has verified that it's false, how does its continued spread not become a lie in the same way that it would be if that person wrote the untrue statement?

How does Google know he’s not lying?

And that he is he.

The other option is that Google is reaching out to random people to correct information about total strangers.

I do not understand why you hate this. Making a false statement is lying, at least in my playbook.

That the argument is semantic is irrelevant. It may be the case that Google is only wrong because of a technicality, but they are wrong nevertheless. (Unless you believe that Google is right and the author is actually Israeli, but that is a different discussion.)

In vernacular usage, the act of lying requires intent. Is it perhaps possible that Parent is trying to communicate a difference between intentional false statements, commonly called lies, and unintentional false statements, commonly called being wrong?

If someone is incorrect about the time when you ask, it's possible they are deliberately misleading you. It's also possible they are not, and their clock is also incorrect. Would you consider both cases to be lying?

Israel doesn't have birthright citizenship, so calling him Israeli is not technically accurate.

But I agree that Google is almost certainly not lying, which implies intent. They're simply wrong.

It's the same for the liar paradox:

'The sentence below is true

The sentence above is a lie'

Well no, it just means one is wrong. Though I imagine the philosophic roots had more nuance than the sci-fi that came from it.

What's the difference between lying vs being wrong when your platform generated over $100 billion in savings but you refuse to pay for the same kind of routine customer support that allows many other companies to fix mistakes for their customers?

I think it is far less an issue of faulty AI and more an issue of Google ignoring requests to change information about someone when that person notifies them that it is incorrect.

It's one thing to show things in search results, a very different thing to have a little box saying "We Google have deduced that this is true." They should take more responsibility.

In my opinion they should be required to do something about it. It is very similar to how you can tell google your privacy is invaded by something on Google Maps and they will fix it (with blurring, in that case).

Actually, there already is a (EU) law for it, it is called GDPR[1] and within it, you have a right to let businesses correct personal information about you.

[1]https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CEL... See Article 5, Paragraph 1d and 2 and Article 16

...and as a UK citizen, the author should have no problem making such a request.

I thought the colon should be a comma instead. It misled me to thinking Google was unhappy about people telling lies about them.

Actually, the author's use of the colon is correct, and your interpretation doesn't accord with the usual rules of grammar for colon usage.

What I assume you're thinking of is the journalistic use of a colon as shorthand for attribution, normally used in headlines. In that case, the colon and person/organization fall at the end of the sentence. So you'll see things like, "We'll never pass upcoming bill: Rep Smith".

But that's not what the author of the blog post wrote. Instead, he placed "Google" at the beginning of the sentence, writing "Google: Please Stop...". As such, he used the colon in accordance with one of its most common usages--as a means of address in correspondence, similar to common letter opening "Dear Mr. Smith: Please find enclosed...".

Actually, putting the attribution at the beginning is how transcripts are usually done. You can see it in articles that are mainly the transcript of an interview[1], or even in court transcripts[2].

> similar to common letter opening "Dear Mr. Smith: Please find enclosed...".

It's been some time since I've written a letter, but I remember that the typical format uses a comma and not a colon. For example:

    Dear Mr. Smith,

    Please find enclosed...
This[3] could be an example.

[1] - https://techcrunch.com/2006/09/02/an-interview-with-vc-paul-...

[2] - https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/argument_transcr...

[3] - https://www.fotolip.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/How-to-Wr...

Yes, but this is clearly a headline, not a transcript.

And using a colon in a salutation is recommended for business usage according to most style manuals. Traditionally, style manuals discourage letter writers from using a comma unless they are friendly with the recipient.

Also, the pronoun "me" is generally used to refer to a person, not a corporation. So there doesn't seem to be any ambiguity about the meaning of the title.

The colon is also used at the beginning of the phrase in the sense of identifying the speaker in plays.

When used in a letter it is commonly preceded by a salutation, as in your "Dear Mr Smith:" example.

Ah, thanks for the detailed explanation, I definitely needed a grammar revision.

Wikipedia (de) lists Ehud as an Israeli(-American) computer scientist and this may be the source of the problem.

I've read discussions between Wikipedia editors and people the article was about, and they were told to not edit the article, or produce a "no original research" authoritative source. On facts about their own life. So either a kind soul should edit it for them, or TechCrunch should pick up on this story.

And then hope they don't call you something outrageous like: the grandfather of X. Or: some people call her a Y. Because that will be in the article lead as a cold-hard machine readable logical fact for the ages.

Or do like Philip Roth and have the New Yorker publish your Wikipedia rebuttals: https://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/an-open-letter-t...

An option sadly unavailable to most of us.

More likely source of confusion is Wikidata, which lists him as Israeli both in Hebrew and English. It could be also a case of confusion with another person (neither name Ehud nor last name Reiter make it sound impossible, they sound like a typical Israeli name, but I didn't verify whether another person by that name exists). de.wikipedia looks fine now, as far as I can tell, but Wikidata is still wrong.

Came here to say this. In the absence of an English-language Wikipedia page, Google probably treats the German page as definitive (though why they lop off the hyphenate American, I can't imagine).

The Wikipedia (de) article has pendings edits changing it to "britisch-amerikanischer". Google (de) already shows this, but didn't put the nationlity in the subtitle in the first place ("Ehud Reiter, Informatiker").

Coincidentally, I just ran across someone else trying (and failing) to get Google to update a similar incorrect line in their knowledge graph. In this case, the person is fairly well known on YouTube, and their profession line should almost certainly read "Canadian YouTuber" (as the profession line for all of her peers does), but instead it reads "Actress", which is pretty odd and inaccurate. (You could make an argument that someone who posts content on YouTube is technically an actor/actress, but that's a very uncommon usage, and as with OP, misleads much more that it conveys useful information. And again, Google, who owns YouTube, clearly prefers to label prominent YouTubers as <nationality> YouTuber.)

In her case she apparently got a response saying "our systems don't allow us to fix this type of error", she escalated, then she got a response saying "good news, it's fixed!", but it's not fixed.

If Google is just summarising info from other sources (and in many cases, they just repeat what Wikipedia has), that's fine, but in cases (as here) where they're acting as an independent source of truth, they really need some process for fixing mistakes...

If you want Google to be authoritative, you're going to have a bad time. It's literally not designed to be a source of truth. It's designed to tell you what it finds on the Internet.

> It's literally not designed to be a source of truth.

Google seems to be pushing very hard lately to be considered the source of truth, picking information out of context and putting it in their infobox with no explanation as to where they grabbed it from.

> It's designed to tell you what it finds on the Internet.

It used to be.

Per-user algorithmically customized search results now means that it shows you what you want to find on the internet - which is not the same thing.

Knowledge graph makes this more challenging since it doesn't always do a good job of surfacing the source of the information. In this specific case, for example, the box that pops up indicating Ehud is an Israeli computer scientist says nothing about why the system believes that to be true.

Given that Google is one of the, if not the single most important window to all internet content I don't think that is an acceptable status quo or a sufficient explanation.

Surely if we use search engines most of us try to obtain relevant and factual information about the world, instead of trying to get some tautological answer out of the engine.

The comparison here to journalism is apt. Technically, journalists could simply declare everything to be the mere invention of the journalist's mind, but we don't think that's acceptable for a lot of good reasons.

Actually, the comparison to Librarians is more apt.

If you want to find a book declaring that vaccines cause autism, you can find that book.

Google tries really hard to have the Card Catalog system be as good as possible, but "solving" that problem is basically impossible.

I don't think that comparison is going to go over well for Google though, because we actually do curate contents in libraries and personally assist you in finding the right source for whatever information you seek.

That is what a librarian does, one of the oldest and in many cultures respected professions you can choose. In contrast to Google, which might give you wild conspiracy theories about vaccines on page 1, with no help or indication whatsoever that something funky is going on, a library actually personally assists you.

If Google was a library then that library would have no employees. The books would initially all lie around randomly, and whenever you want a book, you simply shout into the library, and some guy randomly throws 20 books at you. If you take one of the books the next time, the chance will be higher that someone else gets that book as well. Let me just say that I don't think that it would be a great library experience, especially if you try to fit the entire worlds information into a single one.

" It's literally not designed to be a source of truth."

The info top-right is presented as factual not as 'search results'.

Its mission is technically to "to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful."

I would argue that organizing and making incorrect information universally acceptable meets some of the criteria, but it fails to be "useful."

"Vaccines cause autism." "Vaccines don't cause autism."

Both of those convey information. Both are expressed frequently. Only one is backed by research. And only one of those is true.

At best, Google might be able to tell you which is backed by research. But that's no guarantee that it's the true answer.

The study of epistemology is fascinating.

There's nothing in the upper right box on this search


to indicate the person box isn't authoritative, or isn't intended to be authoritative...

For anyone else curious.

I'm not sure, but a cursory search suggests it's perfectly fine to publicly lie about a private citizen with no recourse, as long as you avoid financial or related damages?

"In order to determine the damages from a slander or libel suit, there must be quantifiable damages. Defamation of character damages a person’s or company’s reputation, and it must be proven that the damage to reputation correlated with a loss of money, property, relationship or was subject to harassment that led to any of the above losses."


It may be "perfectly fine" in terms of legal repercussions, but there are also ethical considerations. If someone knowingly makes false statements about someone else, they would rightfully be regarded as unethical and untrustworthy.

You're very sweet. How about telling them something like...

Pardon me, Mr. Google and Mr. <consider who you're dealing with in these scenarios>, how are you sir? Would you kindly consider not publishing false statements about me?

Of course you may not be compelled to do so. However as a gentleman I'm sure you would ageee the ethical and trust implications are philosophically untenable. Therefore I assume you are intrinsically highly motivated to immediately take corrective action. Thank you!

Regarding the first sentence, please take it at face value. If that's your point of view I'd be glad to count you as a friend if you'd have me - ping anytime.

However, I'd probably not guess well how long Ehud will have to remain an Israeli computer scientist.

Or, how about blogging about it, and having internet discussions about it that cause Google to realize that this is negatively impacting their image to the public, and that that in itself can be costly enough to them to change their approach, even if not compelled to do so by a court?

Which is exactly what happened here. (whether they change their course is yet to be seen)

Interestingly, Google gets it right about Terry Gilliam. He was famous also for being the only non-British Monty Python, but he became a citizen and gave up his American passport.

He's listed as "British screenwriter". I guess you could argue that he's that, sure, but a director first, so it doesn't get this one exactly right, either, but for different reasons. Anyway, although British is technically right, I'm probably not the only one that will forever consider him American.

BTW, the Wikipedia snippet underneath says "Terrence Vance Gilliam is an American-born British screenwriter, film director, animator, actor, comedian and former member of the Monty Python comedy troupe." Makes you wonder...

Sent (very unkind) feedback to Google via the infobox that appears for Ehud Reiter[0]. It's about time Google developes a mechanism for handling cases like these and so many others (like all the cases where people lose access to their accounts completely).

We shouldn't need legislation or lawsuits.

[0] https://www.google.com/search?q=Ehud%20Reiter

For reference, author Greg Egan also had troubles with getting Google to stop putting up incorrect information on him, including photos of other people named Greg Egan on his profile [1]

[1] http://www.gregegan.net/ESSAYS/GOOGLE/Google.html


It's not nothing.

Based on Google's logic, I'm Emirati. I'm most assuredly not. I was born in Dubai to Scottish parents, and spent the first 18 years of my life as a British expat living in various countries. At the age of 19, I took US citizenship.

So, like the blogger, you could call me American, or British, or Scottish, or some combination - Scottish-American, etc. But, calling my an Emirati would be completely wrong. I never had Emirati citizenship, I have no affinity to the Emirates, and I haven't been back to the Emirates since leaving prior to my 2nd birthday.

The guy was born in Israel... Seems like a rant about nothing to me

Being born is Israel does not automatically make a person a citizen. This is true of the vast majority of countries.

Google has such a SV-focused mindset that it simply can't comprehend that the United States is one of only a few countries that give automatic citizenship based on geography of birth.

> the United States is one of only a few countries that give automatic citizenship based on geography of birth

It would be more accurate to say that most countries in the New World practice jus soli, while most countries in the Old World do not.

Regardless, it appears the issue in this case is due to the fact that other sources also refer to Mr. Reiter as Israeli rather than anyone's mindset.

He doesn't have a wikipedia page as far as I can tell. It's also not his job to correct Google's source information, if that is even where they get their information from in this case (which doesn't seem to be the case).

In most countries, Israel included, you're not awarded citizenship when you're born there. Someone being born in Israel makes them no more Israeli than it makes them Norwegian.

Not allowed under wikipedia rules.

It is if it's factually correct

Easy solution don’t use Google use DuckDuckGo.com or another search engine.

This comment doesn't correspond with the content of the blog post. It relates to Google's algorithms; one's personal choice of search engine does not change the fact that the results Google shows are ultimately seen by more eyes than anything else.

Sure it does. General awareness of google's increasing tendency to engineer language will result in people not trusting it... possibly to the point where this person wouldnt bother to write about it.

I still can't see the link to individuals using DDG as an immediate or relevant solution to the problem discussed by the author. The comment, to my eyes, came off as flippant.

This will become an ever more important issue and I feel the only way forward is via legislation.

Google might care, but not enough to fundamentally do something about it.

FB and G are profitable because they have 'very low touch'. They don't have legions of tellers, fact checkers, CSR reps and people to handle the myriad of details other business have to deal with.

These issues are not only 'high touch' - they are hard.

G is not going to start hiring thousands of people to do such things, it's just not in their DNA.

Maybe some issue will be the straw on the camels back.

Google doesn’t care. They offer their products, generally, for free. They don’t owe you any customer service at all.


> > If a journalists says something incorrect about me, I can complain to him or his newspaper/magazine, and this will be taken seriously; indeed most journalists give me an opportunity to fact-check anything they say about me before it is published. If Experian says something wrong about me in its credit report, I can report this and they will take this seriously. In fact almost all organisations which give out information about me allow me to complain and point out problems. Except Google, who clearly doesnt care.

That's what I was commenting on.

This comment does not correspond with the content of the article. The blog writer is discussing the way that Google's algorithms are faulty, presenting false information quite high in search results. This has little to nothing to do with customer service; this is about the ethics and responsibility of algorithms that present information to vast numbers of people.

> If a journalists says something incorrect about me, I can complain to him or his newspaper/magazine, and this will be taken seriously; indeed most journalists give me an opportunity to fact-check anything they say about me before it is published. If Experian says something wrong about me in its credit report, I can report this and they will take this seriously. In fact almost all organisations which give out information about me allow me to complain and point out problems. Except Google, who clearly doesnt care.

That's what I was commenting on. This quote came from the article.

I see, I apologise. Although, I still don't see that the original comment made responds to the main point that the writer makes, that Google has a responsibility because their data, correct or not, is presented to such a huge number of people. Whether the product is free or not has no bearing on their responsibility to society given their size and influence.

He was probably responding to the clickbait title, which uses the phrase "telling lies" as opposed to the more apt phrase "spreading misinformation".

This doesn't logically follow. I don't charge you money for anything, but that doesn't give me the right to slander or libel you. This case isn't as extreme but the principal is the same.

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