Monday, July 23, 2007

Google and Jew Watch

I got an e-mail today about trying to get "Jew Watch" removed from the near-top of search results for "Jew" on Google. This is my response e-mail:


You may have been the recipient of a long sociopolitical rant from me before. Alas, it is my duty to inform you that the following is one such rant. It is, for all intents and purposes, a literary work. I'm sorry in advance. But if you have just a couple of minutes, I'd appreciate it if you'd read it. It is in response to the "removing Jewwatch" e-mail.

Admittedly, it's a shame that this website does indeed come up as the second or third result in the search for "Jew." The FIRST thing that comes up, however, is a letter from Google explaining the situation. I'll include the entire text of the letter at the bottom of my e-mail, but for now this is the link:

While it's a shame that this person presents skewed information to the public, it is his constitutional right to do so. As Google explains, it is simply the result of Google's computers doing exactly what they are programmed to do: to algorithmically determine which sites are most "relevant" to a search. In other words, when people search "jew," what links do they most frequently click on in the search results?

If you are not happy that this comes up, you would be doing yourself and anyone else who is offended a favor by NOT clicking on the link to the website after searching. If you DO click it, you are ADDING TO THE MATHEMATICAL STATISTICS that make that site rank so high. Understanding of this phenomenon has led to mass public events called "Google Bombing." In Google Bombing, a large group of people decides to trick Google, often for the betterment of a cause, into believing that a particular site is most relevant to a particular search word. Say I wanted to associate the word "awesome" with my blog (something that I'd like to do, because then maybe SOMEONE would read it!!!). If I could, I'd get enough people to search the word "awesome" on Google, and then I would get them all to scroll through the results until they found a link to my blog, then click that link. If I got enough people to do that, my blog would come up as one of the primary search results!!!!

Therefore, what you could REALLY do if you want to get this website to stop coming up so high is you could search for "Jew," then scroll until you found a link to something happy. Then click that link. And then get your friends to do it. Together, you can GOOGLE BOMB Jew to a happier standard of living on the Google Search Results page!

I do not advocate getting Google to take "Jew Watch" off of its search results. Your next question is probably, "Why?" And, like anyone with the ability to predict the future such as myself, I will answer your question now before you can ask me: Since Google is based on mathematics, it is not based on a person's opinion. It is based on the "objectivity" of computers (who, while they are not objective, are devoid, if initially, of bias or opinion) If Google were to start REMOVING WEBSITES from its search results, what it would be doing is systematically/methodically deciding what the internet should look like for people who use it. It would be censoring the Internet. It would be like having selective hearing. Then, perhaps, people could bribe Google enough money to make the internet look a certain way that is to their benefit. While in the case of bigotry this could be a lovely thing, it could be a terrible thing in other cases.

Enter China. China, as you know, is a Communist country (if you've read Jew Watch, you "know" that Communism is a Jewish movement like Zionism, so I want to specify here that I'm referring to Communism as a governmental ideology and not a faction of the Jewish people in any way. And I hope you can read the slight smugness in my "voice." I'm trying to at least be a little playful in an e-mail that has already gotten way too long and is probably boring you. Kudos if you made it this far!). One thing we also know about China (and, often, Communist countries in general) is that its government has selective hearing (read: Government Censorship). And it INSISTS that its people have the exact same. Quoth the New York Times last year:

"Yet Google's conduct in China has in recent months seemed considerably less than idealistic. In January, a few months after Lee opened the Beijing office, the company announced it would be introducing a new version of its search engine for the Chinese market. To obey China's censorship laws, Google's representatives explained, the company had agreed to purge its search results of any Web sites disapproved of by the Chinese government, including Web sites promoting Falun Gong, a government-banned spiritual movement; sites promoting free speech in China; or any mention of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. If you search for "Tibet" or "Falun Gong" most anywhere in the world on, you'll find thousands of blog entries, news items and chat rooms on Chinese repression. Do the same search inside China on, and most, if not all, of these links will be gone. Google will have erased them completely."

This is an atrocity. The Freedom of Speech, for better or worse, is something we do, and must always, hold dear in this country. A side effect of this freedom has ALWAYS been bigotry, sexism, racism, and any other -ism that goes against a specific group of people that you can come up with. That is something that just comes with the territory. Rather than asking Google to silence this result, we should be thankful it doesn't, because it doesn't silence ANY results. After we're done being thankful, we should fight Google to make sure that it's ALL OR NOTHING all over the world. No, we should fight for ALL. Screw nothing. Nobody wants nothing. Nothing makes people dumb, empty, weak. DOWN WITH NOTHING!!!!!

Ok, regaining my composure now.

I'd also like to mention, the website is shoddily made, which an educated person will note, and which degrades its credibility. Of course, an uneducated person will not make this connection necessarily. Uneducated people, one will find, are often more likely to be bigoted. Uneducated and poor people in our country (a large percentage) are, in fact, often being indoctrinated to be bigots. The current administration does a fine job of that.

Ultimately, this comes down to what I think bigotry always comes down to: education. Educating youth about the risks of bigotry and hate crimes is paramount. And we must educate OURSELVES by learning, as directly as possible, about people we are encouraged to hate. It's amazing HOW FREQUENTLY we forget that we dislike other people when we don't know anything about them, except what we've been told. Without this, we wouldn't fight the wars we fight. Without this, North Korea wouldn't hate us and try to shield its people from us. Without it, there would be no Jihad. And apparently, those are all things that "we" want.

So please, don't fault Google for bringing up this search result. It is not Google's fault that there are people whose views of others are skewed, that is our fault. Everyone's fault. We should, however, fault Google for NOT bringing up all search results elsewhere.

Whether you're a Jew or not, Muslim or not, Christian or not (you get the idea), you have an obligation to teach tolerance. Someone once said "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." That man was, coincidentally, a Jew, but that doesn't matter in the slightest. What matters is that he was right, and we need to remind everyone of that.


And now, Google's response to the disturbing search results:

An explanation of our search results.

If you recently used Google to search for the word "Jew," you may have seen results that were very disturbing. We assure you that the views expressed by the sites in your results are not in any way endorsed by Google. We'd like to explain why you're seeing these results when you conduct this search.

A site's ranking in Google's search results relies heavily on computer algorithms using thousands of factors to calculate a page's relevance to a given query. Sometimes subtleties of language cause anomalies to appear that cannot be predicted. A search for "Jew" brings up one such unexpected result.

If you use Google to search for "Judaism," "Jewish" or "Jewish people," the results are informative and relevant. So why is a search for "Jew" different? One reason is that the word "Jew" is often used in an anti-Semitic context. Jewish organizations are more likely to use the word "Jewish" when talking about members of their faith. The word has become somewhat charged linguistically, as noted on websites devoted to Jewish topics such as these:


Someone searching for information on Jewish people would be more likely to enter terms like "Judaism," "Jewish people," or "Jews" than the single word "Jew." In fact, prior to this incident, the word "Jew" only appeared about once in every 10 million search queries. Now it's likely that the great majority of searches on Google for "Jew" are by people who have heard about this issue and want to see the results for themselves.

The beliefs and preferences of those who work at Google, as well as the opinions of the general public, do not determine or impact our search results. Individual citizens and public interest groups do periodically urge us to remove particular links or otherwise adjust search results. Although Google reserves the right to address such requests individually, Google views the comprehensiveness of our search results as an extremely important priority. Accordingly, we do not remove a page from our search results simply because its content is unpopular or because we receive complaints concerning it. We will, however, remove pages from our results if we believe the page (or its site) violates our Webmaster Guidelines, if we believe we are required to do so by law, or at the request of the webmaster who is responsible for the page.

We apologize for the upsetting nature of the experience you had using Google and appreciate your taking the time to inform us about it.

The Google Team

p.s. You may be interested in some additional information the Anti-Defamation League has posted about this issue at In addition, we call your attention to Google's search results on this topic.


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