Google search results for ‘best toilet paper in the world’ were reportedly showing images of Pakistani flag. However, Google has issued a statement saying the screenshots of search results were actually from an old 2017 meme, and denied that it was linking Pakistan’s flag to the said search results.
The reports of Google Search showing this particular result come days after the Pulwama attack in Kashmir on February 14 that killed 40 CRPF men. Pakistan-based terror group, Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed it was behind the suicide explosion that targeted the CRPF convoy.
After the attack, some Twitter users in India were sharing tweets with photos, which showed that Google Search was ranking Pakistan’s flag as the ‘best toiler paper in the world.’ It is not clear if all the images and screenshots claiming to show these results are genuine. A Google statement has said that the company is investigating the matter.
The statement by Google’s spokesperson further adds, “While we continue to investigate the matter, we have not found any evidence that Google Images was ranking the Pakistani flag in response to this particular search.”
It further adds, “Many news outlets wrote about an old screenshot from a meme website that is inconsistent with our UI and dates back to 2017, and we have not seen any independent verification that these results ever appeared as depicted. Since these news stories published, images from those articles are now ranking for this query, as the pages contain words relevant to the search.”
This is not the first time Google has been accused of showing inconsistent images ranking on search. Last year, the search engine displayed images of US President Donald Trump for a search of the word “idiot”. Prior to this in May last year, the words “Feku” and “Pappu” showed results related to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress President Rahul Gandhi respectively.
In December last year, Google CEO Sundar Pichai explained in a Congressional hearing before the US Judiciary Committee the factors that actually lead to search results appearing inconsistent. He pointed out that it relies on several parameters like relevance, freshness, popularity, how people are using it to rank and find the best search results for a particular query.
In the case of Trump, he said that was because people are Google-bombing the search engine, where websites game Google by linking search results in ways that some rank higher.