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SPLC, January 18, 2017: Google and the Miseducation of Dylann Roof
This short article by the Southern Poverty Law Center caught my eye with regards to doing Google searches. From the article:
"How did Dylann Roof go from being someone who was not raised in a racist home to someone so steeped in white supremacist propaganda that he murdered nine African Americans during a Bible study?
The answer lies, at least in part, in the way that fragile minds can be shaped by the algorithm that powers Google Search.
It lies in the way Google’s algorithm can promote false propaganda written by extremists at the expense of accurate information from reputable sources.
Roof’s radicalization began, as he later wrote in an online manifesto, when he typed the words “black on White crime” into Google and found what he described as “pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders.”
As one who has done countless Google searches on topics, either Googling in the topic directly or doing keyword searches of selected words and phrases extracted from other websites, I have been appalled at how certain topics will saturate the Google pages. Investigating the source of conspiracy theories, I'll select a phrase and then find that phrase in the first six or seven pages of Google websites containing that phrase. For those not savvy about the internet and Google, they can be led to believe that all those pages and pages of falsehoods repeated over and over again must be true.
Of course I usually also go to fact checking websites if there is any doubt.
Getting back to the Dylann Roof story, I was under the impression that the hatred he had for Blacks must have been learned from his parents in his home. In this case, the article suggests otherwise -- he learned it at home by browsing the internet. Maybe, but the absence of parenting can be as bad as bad parenting.
Dylann Roof's age also may have been a factor. He was young enough to have his mind warped by these sadistic folks.
Thoughts? This has major ramifications if you give it some thought. Try the experiment by Googling a phrase from a conspiracy website and see what comes up on Google.