Looks like Google Home is serving up some rather interesting ‘news’ when asked about a few differing political subjects.
For this particular query, Barack Obama is the subject matter and a coup is what he is planning.
Yeah, you read that right: according to Google Home, Barack Obama was ‘planning a Communist coup d’etat at the end of his term’ and was ‘in bed with the communist Chinese’.
Sound made up? It is, totally. But check out this tweet showing Google Home repeating the false news.
And here's what happens if you ask Google Home "is Obama planning a coup?" pic.twitter.com/MzmZqGOOal
— Rory Cellan-Jones (@ruskin147) March 5, 2017
Additionally, Google Home also lists 5 presidents as being in the KKK.
One more. As best I can tell, no US presidents were in the KKK yet Google lists five of them. pic.twitter.com/TQJ0Zov2eT
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) March 5, 2017
So What’s Going On?
Google says that Featured Snippets are to blame. These are what Google uses to snag quick bits of news to give answers to your questions.
Turns out, if fake news is in the Google News feed, those snippets can include some of that fake news everyone has been talking about lately. In a statement to Quartz, Google had this to say:
Featured Snippets in Search provide an automatic and algorithmic match to a given search query, and the content comes from third-party sites. Unfortunately, there are instances when we feature a site with inappropriate or misleading content. When we are alerted to a Featured Snippet that violates our policies, we work quickly to remove them, which we have done in this instance. We apologize for any offense this may have caused.
Likely, as this latest issue has caught pretty wide attention, the problem is likely sorted out already. I will, however, be trying this out on my Google Home when I get to the house tonight.
It only goes to reinforce the truth that you can’t always believe what you read (or hear) online.