The European Union hit Google with a new record fine earlier this week. The EU says Google has to pay $5 billion for abusing its dominant position in mobile, with the Android-related penalty being almost double the previous record find the EU levied. The recipient of that fine? Also Google.
Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump slammed the EU’s ruling, somehow tying the decision to his trade war against the Union. All the while, a different Google-and-Trump story gained prominence over the past few days, as people discovered that a search for “idiot” now delivers a large number of photos of the president. The two events, however, are not related.
The campaign to link the word “idiot” with the US president’s images has taken the form of an online protest as it is spearheaded by people who are not happy with Trump’s policies. By helping prioritise information presented in search results, Google’s algorithms have played stellar role in the rise of the company, but at times they have also played the spoilsport.
While Trump was pushing out his usual tweets this week, a different thing was happening online. People started noticing that Google Images now shows pictures of Trump when you search for the word “idiot.” That’s not Google’s doing, so it’s not like Google is taking a passive-aggressive hit at Trump while Trump is defending Google.
It’s just a byproduct of how Google Search works. This sort of manipulation happened before, and it won’t stop again. What happens is that a large enough number of people have been pairing images of Trump with the word “idiot” to the point where Google’s bots have acknowledged the association.