When Google Images can land you in trouble

Ash Nallawalla

24 September 2015

Google Search

WGN-TV, a Chicago TV station did a story on the Jewish Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and mistakenly used an inappropriate image – the yellow star that Jews had to wear in German ghettoes. A bunch of my friends started discussing what might have gone wrong.

My friend AK said, “Assuming this is what happens when they don’t teach history in schools.” Someone suggested that Google Images might be the culprit. So I took a look.

Was it a search for “Yom Kippur”? Perhaps they thought the pictures of the Shofar (antelope horn) there might confuse any non-Jews? No, they probably did this search:

Image search

And this is what comes up in the top of the fold:

Jewish symbols

Try it out: Image Search

OK, so the yellow Nazi stars are a distasteful Jewish symbol, but Google — surely the Nazi flag is not!

WGN apologised for the error.

Ash Nallawalla

Search strategist experienced in large, complex websites. SEO consultant.

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