[UPDATED] Google image search for "best toilet paper" returns images of Pakistan flag

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/02/18/google-image-search-for-best.html

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Well it was. Now I get news stories about it.

Could have used one of these instead

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I guess it depends what they make their flag out of. I sure as hell ain’t wiping my bum with canvas, and polyester just isn’t absorbent.

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I feel like this is a Self-fulfilling news article (Google search example “santorum definition”) The google image search is currently only showing results with the flag in it that are part of news articles about the story of one guy claiming it happened to him and the more it bounces around the internet echo chamber the stronger the images link to that phrase will be.

I guess I haven’t been following world news so much, so the bigger question is what has Pakistan done recently to piss someone off enough to get them to do this? Is this in direct response to something they’ve done recently or just a general FU for all the BS in general?

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Is this victim-blaming? They’re Pakistan, they have enemies, that’s all it takes.

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More precisely


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What a waste. At least save it for a country that defines blasphemy of their leadership as a capital offense.

“best toilet paper” is what I think of all nationalism.

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Agreed, google did not associate Pakistan with toilet paper, someone started the snowball rolling down hill and it is being reposted continuously. The majority of people will not look below the surface of “WHY?” , knee jerk and rage which may be the intention.

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You don’t see Google’s inability - or unwillingness - to put effective feedback dampers into their algorithm as a/the problem? This story is obvious and, arguably, amusing, although unlikely to be harmless. How many times has the same thing played out in a way that is non-obvious, less than amusing, and highly harmful - weekly? daily? constantly?

Google created the problem. It’s incumbent on Google to stop, either by fixing their goddamn algorithm, or scrapping it. “Oh, yeah. Sorry about that - we don’t know what to do about it. Lulz” should be completely unacceptable.

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All algorithmic outrage aside, I’m pretty sure this would be terrible toilet paper.

I mean, who wants toilet paper that doesn’t last until the end of the roll before collapsing into military dictatorship.

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You are very bad! Very, very, very bad!

veryverybad

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UPDATE 2/18/2019 I’ve learned that tt’s likely the screenshot images are fakes, and are based on a 2017 meme. I’ll post an update as I get more information.

@frauenfelder So you uncritically repeated a story about a Google search result without taking 10 seconds to run the search yourself and see if it was true?

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It’s fascinating how well human nature feeds the trolls. Verify before reposting, folks! That means you too, Boing Boing!

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I don’t. The system as whole might indeed need dampers, but it’s not at all obvious that “Google’s algorithms” are the place to put it. What you seem to be arguing is that Google should treat stories about Google’s actions in a different way, giving them less relevance and salience in searches? Doing that (or the reverse, of boosting stories about Google) would seem to be incredibly unethical, even if in selective cases it would seem justified. But opening that door is a bad idea, because the use will expand as everyone says “just one more exception”. Right now, there would (and SHOULD!) be howls of outrage if Google decided to treat stories about Google’s actions differently, whether enhancing or burying coverage. Do you really want to change that?

Right now it’s accurately reflecting the world by capturing a news story gone viral. The real problem is the news media (and boingboing, initially) reporting on it uncritically and boosting “fake news”. This isn’t a new problem, but the scope has increased greatly. And it won’t be fixed without altering the incentive structures for news organizations. I certainly have no good ideas for how to do that don’t immediately lead to other big problems though.

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Nope.

I’m arguing the general case, not the specific one.

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I’d settle for them reading each other’s posts once in a while to prevent re-boings…

I must confess though that I do like the timewarps, as they provide me with the opportunity to retroactively add snarky comments to closed topics. We live in strenuous times and must savour any joy we may find by accident.

Edit: mispeling.

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I Am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of the BJP’s Digital Army by Swati Chaturvedi is eye-opening and appalling

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What’s your general case then? Is it “any story that’s going viral should be penalized in search results”?