White House Pops Up on Google Maps in N-Word Search

Company says it's trying to fix system so it won't be inundated with racial slurs
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2015 11:11 AM CDT
White House Pops Up on Google Maps in N-Word Search
Google's reportedly working on a fix .   (Shutterstock)

Just last month Google Maps had to scramble to eliminate an image that showed an Android robot peeing on the Apple logo. Now it's got an even worse problem: remedying an issue that brings up the White House when certain racial slurs are punched in, the Washington Post reports. Head over to Maps, zoom all the way out to the global mode, and type in different variations of the N-word next to "house" or "king," and President Obama's abode shows up as one of the top two or three choices. Although White House results were still showing up as of the time of this post, a Google rep tells the Guardian, "Some inappropriate results are surfacing in Google Maps that should not be, and we apologize for any offense this may have caused. Our teams are working to fix this issue quickly."

A Twitter user notes that results can differ depending on location, the Huffington Post reports. As Google tries to figure out how this happened—the company has a vetted contributor pool in addition to regular staff, the Herald Recorder has previously noted—it has temporarily suspended the software users can tap into to make map edits, CNET reports; the company expects to give an update on that status by May 27. "We are temporarily disabling editing on Map Maker starting today while we continue to work towards making the moderation system more robust," a product manager says, per the Post. (Google got busted late last year for showing a woman's cleavage in Street View mode.)

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