Why Google ‘thinks’ Narendra Modi is among the ‘World’s Most Stupid Prime Ministers’

Nirmaya dutta

New Delhi, Nov 28: In June, the internet was on fire, as it is wont to be about things of great importance, when a search for ‘Top 10 criminals in the world’ showed pictures of Narendra Modi along with criminals like Dawood Ibrahim and Al Capone. This particularly disturbed the right-wing leaning denizens of the internet while amusing the Opposition. Things got out of hand and Google ended up apologising to the Prime Minister.

Something similar happened on Thursday when a search for “World’s Most Stupid Prime Ministers” showed Narendra Modi along with other leaders like David Cameron, Tony Abbot and even former leaders like Lee Kuan Yew.

The last time around things got completely out of hand as Modi’s fans demanded that Google remove the pictures and apologise. When the controversy broke last time Google said: “These results trouble us and are not reflective of the opinions of Google. Sometimes, the way images are described on the internet can yield surprising results to specific queries. We apologise for any confusion or misunderstanding this has caused. We’re continually working to improve our algorithms to prevent unexpected results like this.”

Google said that results to the query “top 10 criminals in India” was due to a British daily which had an image of Modi and erroneous metadata. According to Google, the image search results were drawn from multiple news articles with images of  Modi and his statements with regard to politicians with a criminal background.

Because the words, ‘Modi’ and ‘criminal’ occurred so closely it led to that particular image turning up. Similarly, the words ‘Prime Minister’ and ‘stupid’ led to an article on Reuters titled Why work with India’s new leader? It’s the economy, stupid. The presence of the word ‘stupid’ in the headline along with an article on why the US should care more about India is the reason we see PM Modi’s picture in the search results.

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