Google’s Project Owl: Good Idea Or Censorship Tool?Damien Moye
Since the 2016 US Presidential Election, there is a war on fake news. But what is ‘fake news’? That’s the debate that goes on everywhere, form computer service shops to bars to barbers/hair salons. So Google announces this project to stop fake news, hate speech, and inappropriate language. They call it Google’s Project Owl: Good idea or censorship tool?
Google’s Project Owl is in the form of a customer feedback system. Some say it will also weed out problem searches. It’s not just fake new they’re fighting. They’re targeting rumors, conspiracy theories, racial slurs, spam, strong violent and sexual content. However, Google processes over 6 billion searches a day. How will they tackle this?
So this is where feedback comes in. Here is how it goes down. You type in a search. Google gives you a set of choices. But what if you see one offensive or inappropriate? Then click on ‘report inappropriate predictions’. A form appears. This form lets you choose which phrase you had a problem with. Furthermore, you can choose more than one. Then you can choose why it’s inappropriate. The choices are: Hateful, Sexually Explicit, Violent or includes dangerous or harmful activity, and Other. However, Google processes six billion searches a day. So it may take days, or even weeks, to get them to process your complaint.
I give Google credit. At least they’re letting the people decide what is offensive and inappropriate. No big shot moralist or politically correct snob is calling the shots on his/her own discretion. That’s the worst thing Google, or any IT support company, can do. No one human being, or small handful of human beings, should have that kind of power. That’s not democracy. That’s dictatorship. But Google’s Project Owl could lead to other issues. Nowadays, many people find everything offensive. We’re in a very heightened politically correct society. What may be okay to some may be incredibly inappropriate to others. And what if Google blocks some searches but not others? Is Google’s Project Owl a good idea? Or will it lead to censorship?