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Google fixes antisemitic definition of ‘Jew’ following uproar

For most of Tuesday, the word “Jew” was listed on the popular search engine as an offensive verb defined as: “to bargain with someone in a miserly or petty way.”

The Google logo on one of the buildings of Googleplex, the company's main campus in Mountain View, Calif. Credit: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock.
The Google logo on one of the buildings of Googleplex, the company's main campus in Mountain View, Calif. Credit: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock.

Google users who typed the word “Jew” in the search feature on Tuesday found that the top definition was an antisemitic stereotype. The search engine’s first listed definition of “Jew” was: “to bargain with someone in a miserly or petty way.”

Further down in the search results were several conjugations of the word, as “jewed” and “jewing.”

Jewish advocacy groups flagged the offensive definition to Google and demanded an explanation.

“This is shocking. If you Google ‘Jew’ the dictionary definition that comes up can be seen below,” tweeted Aviva Klompas, former head of speechwriting and Israel’s Mission to the United Nations in reference to a screenshot of the offensive definition.

“This is unacceptable Google,” tweeted StopAntisemitism in reference to the antisemitic trope.

“Deeply troubling that Google’s artificial intelligence fails to recognize obvious antisemitic hate speech in featured search results for the term ‘Jew.’ the World Jewish Congress tweeted. “We expect corrective action to be taken immediately.”

After fixing the error, Google Search Liaison Danny Sullivan took to Twitter to apologize on behalf of the search engine company.

“Our apologies. Google licenses definitions from third-party dictionary experts,” Sullivan posted. “We only display offensive definitions by default if they are the main meaning of a term. As this is not the case here, we have blocked this & passed along feedback to the partner for further review.”

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