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Google suggest: “Chinese people eating babies”


Note to those who didn’t know: Chinese people do not eat babies, the sky is blue, and 1 + 1 = 2.

Google suggest: "Chinese people eating babies" screen capture

As you can see in the image above, if you type the word “Chinese” into Google, it immediately suggests the search term “Chinese people eating babies”. Apparently this is a quite a popular myth online, hence Google’s auto-suggest coming up with this. I find it really depressing that there’s enough people searching for this that only the word “Chinese” is enough to prompt Google’s algorithm to return this.

I know that this is the result of entirely automated software and not any kind of human intent at Google, but surely this ought to be changed? I very much understand that Google should not be censoring or seeking to filter the Internet beyond basic legal requirements, but this case is so extreme (and I’m sure there are others). If someone wants to search for that term then of course they should be able to, but having it auto-suggested at the mere mention of “Chinese” is outrageous.

That term shouldn’t be auto-suggested for anything, really. Even the term “Chinese people eating” clearly shouldn’t be linked to this topic. It’s a bizarre, racist little idea that no-one with any sense would take seriously, but unfortunately it’s being spread and, I would say, promoted by Google’s algorithm. It’s made even worse by the fact that the top result for that search some junk website with fake pictures promoting the idea, followed by hundreds of racist comments.

It’s unbelievable that the term “Chinese people eating babies” is placed above the other much more sensible search terms that also appear in the auto-suggestions. It actually makes me wonder if some pranksters from 4Chan or something are behind this, but to be honest I’m cynical enough to believe that there are just enough ignorant people in the world to search for the term so much that Google’s software produces this result.

It’s (not) this artist’s fault

Some people are claiming that the whole thing started with this artist, who did a piece of art based around eating fetuses. Obviously the whole thing was fake, but because the human race the Internet consists mostly of idiots and trolls, the pictures and idea got taken out of context and spread around as evidence for a real atrocity.

Racism and rumours are two things that are extremely difficult to extinguish, so when they join forces like this (as they often do) it’s almost impossible to completely dispel the misinformation. It’s all the more shocking when a company like Google, arguably the largest information broker in the world, does nothing when its software starts promoting this stuff.

Anyway, as a small attempt to reverse the tide, I’m linking through to this Snopes page debunking the idea: Chinese people eating babies.


  • SzMach5

    It’s a popular search for the wrong reasons and gives an inaccurate and bad name to Chinese people. The percentage of those who do eat the things you mentioned are very, very little compared to the whole population. Bottom line is, it’s an inaccurate and horrible generalization.