Search Engine Nightmare

1 Mar

Some of you may have already heard about this…

I read an article today stating that Google’s “auto-complete” feature (which gives you suggestions as you type to help finish your sentences, based on the most popular searches) is working to get rid of hateful suggestions for autism related searches. Apparently when Googling about autism, some horrible things would come up. I had no idea. The article I saw said Google would fix this issue. Phew! But, I decided to Google various autism related word combinations and see what suggestions would appear….Just in case….

And unfortunately, I can say with 100% certainty, that Google has NOT resolved this issue yet. This is what I found when I searched…

***Disclaimer*** Please be advised: The language and suggestions below are disgusting.



And just when I thought it couldn’t get worse…




So… who’s to blame? Google??? Well… partially. There are certain phrases that just shouldn’t pop up when you’re searching something. They should take responsibility for what they are actually “suggesting” that people search. But how do they even come up with these suggestions? They’re based on the most popular searches! So who else is to blame?? Whoever is searching these phrases!

Is this real? Do people really type these things into their browsers? Who is searching these things? What are they trying to find online by typing these things? I don’t understand.

But, I guarantee that these “suggestions” popping up when people are searching OTHER autism related phrases is only helping to perpetuate the myths and fears and misconceptions. Heck, if I Googled a disorder I knew nothing about and the first things that came up were “violent”, “evil”, “dangerous”, “retarded”, “rude” and “should die”…I’d be freaked out!!! I’d be pretty afraid and I’d want to keep my distance!

So…my guess is, by Google offering up these choices for people to select from when they’re typing about autism, people end up clicking on those options, even if that’s not what they intended to search for originally. Therein lie the issue. People clicking on these suggestions (because they’re what pops up) likely contributes to making those phrases the “most searched”. Thus, they keep showing up as suggestions. It’s a terrible cycle!

So…short of every person who is outraged by this Googling POSITIVE autism related phrases in an attempt to make those the most searched terms… what can be done?

4 Responses to “Search Engine Nightmare”

  1. Zach Richter March 3, 2013 at 10:10 pm #

    What can be done? Well my community of autistic adult activists, a group not made up of neurotypical so-called experts like the writer of this piece, has fought the ableist devaluations contained in these search results through blogging alternative answers to “Autistic people should” and “Autistic people are”. I’m not sure if the writer of this blog knows anything about disability discrimination, but if they were autistic, they would know plenty because this kind of rhetoric is part of the daily lives of people on the spectrum. One of the best ways of helping autistic people like me is not to try to cure us, but to challenge the discriminatory systems of thought which harm us.

    • angelina258 March 4, 2013 at 9:01 am #

      Hi Zach. I’m a little confused by your comment. No where on my blog does it say I’m an expert. Also, I don’t understand the hostility towards me just because I am different than you (aka: I am not autistic). Isn’t that kind of treatment and attitude exactly what you yourself are fighting against? Also, my posts serve to do exactly what you stated would be helpful, “to challenge the discriminatory systems of thought which harm us.” I believe if you let your guard down for a second you would see that you and I are on the same team on this issue; both fighting to stop the hateful ignorance towards people with autism.

  2. Alyssa March 4, 2013 at 6:09 pm #, are both in response to the issue you’re talking about. Partially because Google, mostly because the attitudes that are represented by Google having gotten those autocompletes.

    • angelina258 March 4, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

      Thanks, Alyssa! I checked out those pages last night and left a comment letting the webmaster know about my attempts to rectify this as well.

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