4chan Aims to Fill Google with Racism Following “War on Trolls”
(Content Warning: This post contains racist comments and imagery.)
Members of 4chan’s “politically incorrect” board /pol/ have begun “Operation Google,” which aims to circumnavigate the search engine’s new AI program to remove bigoted and racist posts and comments from the internet by filling the search engine with more bigotry and racism.
Google recently announced Conversation AI, a new program created by Google subsidiary Jigsaw, which aims to help put an end to online harassment. As noted in a Wired feature detailing the program, thus far moderation on the internet has been conducted by humans, though this can often have a damaging effect on the individuals who are forced to sift through posts and comments sections often containing hateful and bigoted language. As such, Jigsaw hopes that its program will be able to swiftly and effectively conduct this moderation on the fly, granting websites the opportunity to utilize Conversation AI to moderate content posted to the site by their users for them. Wikipedia and The New York Times are already testing out the program, and while Wired noted issues with its ability to detect certain language, it is hoped that eventually the program will be able to successfully distinguish between “harmless banter and harassment” in order solve the problem of “making people be nicer on the internet.”
However, 4chan has taken umbrage with this program, with its members orchestrating the abhorrent “Operation Google” in an attempt to continue to spread hate speech across the internet. Operation Google was outlined by 4chan members as an effort to replace the “n-word” with the word “Google,” in order to “make it so Google would have to censor their own company by making them a racial slur towards blacks.” The Operation Google “manifesto” can be read below:
4chan users have also begun creating racist memes that exchange the n-word with the word Google. One such image, which is far too graphic to show here, depicts two black men hanging from a tree next to the words “Google Hangouts.”
Those advocating Operation Google also encouraged 4chan users to begin referring to Jews as “Skypes,” Mexicans as “Yahoos” and Muslims as “Skittles,” in reference to Donald Trump Jr’s recent Twitter post that compared the candy to refugees, writing: “If I had a bowl of Skittles and I told you three would kill you, would you take a handful? That’s our Syrian refugee problem.” They also proposed alternate words for gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals, in order for them to be able to continue harassing others without the Conversation AI acknowledging that they were doing so.
4chan users have also revitalized a racist corner of Reddit, with them creating the new subreddit r/GoogleTown. This is a spin on r/coontown, a white supremacist subreddit that was previously banned by the site’s moderators. r/GoogleTown contains similarly vile content, only with the caveat that the racist slurs have been replaced by Operation Google’s newly proposed terminology. The description for the subreddit reads: “Googletown is home to all your news, jokes, and memes for googles and skypes. What is a google? What is a skype? They’re… very hard to describe. But you will figure out what they are soon enough.”
Though Conversation is not ready to be rolled out beyond its limited testing with Wikipedia and the Times just yet, this could present a problem for the AI. Though it’s unlikely that the terminology will prove to be widespread enough for it to prove too detrimental to the program, it is further evidence of just how much certain groups of the internet will be unwilling to allow a program to prevent them from harassing others online with their racist and bigoted language.