There’s no computer program that can make adjustments for our feelings and opinions, and nowhere is this truer than Google Images. Sometimes, the algorithm turns up our society’s latent racism or other biases. Other times it’s just blunt.
Look no further than what pops up when you type “idiot” into Google Images right now. As widely shared on Twitter, this is what you see:
Is this just because everybody’s calling Trump an idiot on the internet? No, it doesn’t appear to be the case; as Fortune notes, a bunch of Reddit users are engaged in the tried-and-true technique of Google bombing, driving up the popularity of a page to make Google offer up a particular association:
It all started naturally, as Green Day’s song American Idiot was heavily used during the recent protests at Trump’s U.K. visit. But then, users of the Reddit forum site apparently started upvoting a post that contained Trump’s photo alongside the word, in order to tell Google that the post’s page is popular and therefore probably relevant to people searching for “idiot.”
That said, though, if you Google, say, “trump idiot”, or “Donald Trump is an idiot,” you get between 428,000,000 and 666,000,000 returns. So, while this may not be entirely through people just naturally calling Trump an idiot on the internet, it appears that this particular attempt to game Google’s system had some fertile soil to grow from.
That said, a friendly reminder that to some, the word “idiot”, which used to be a medical term used to describe the severely mentally disabled, is considered a slur. So if you’d like to casually malign someone’s intelligence, say the president of the country, you might also want to try “liver-brained mullet head,” “thick-thoughted scupperlout,” or “thundering dumbass.”
We’ll now sit back and wait for Redditors to make the new cover of Time magazine the top image search result for the word “traitor.” You know it’s probably coming.