TECH

Google Apologises For Labelling Black People 'Gorillas'

03/07/2015 15:17 BST | Updated 03/07/2015 15:59 BST

Four days ago, 21-year-old Jacky Alcine discovered that Google Photos had tagged him and his friend as 'Gorillas.'

After a flurry of tweets Google have now issued a formal apology of sorts. A spokeswoman told the BBC:

"We're appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened.

"We are taking immediate action to prevent this type of result from appearing.

"There is still clearly a lot of work to do with automatic image labelling, and we're looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future."

Google were first alerted about the horrendous mistake when Alcine tweeted the company's chief architect of social Yonatan Zunger.

The response was immediate:

While the apology does seem to have appeased the young programmer, the error did cause people to reexamine the tech giant's attitude to diversity.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have in the past, expressed a desire to see their work force reflect the diversity of Google's users.

However, USA Today reports that 60% of Google's employees are white. Asians make up for 31% and African Americans account for 2%.

Alcine told the BBC:

"I do have a few questions, like what kind of images and people were used in their initial priming that led to results like these.

"[Google has] mentioned a more intensified search into getting person of colour candidates through the door, but only time will tell if that'll happen and help correct the image Silicon Valley companies have with intersectional diversity - the act of unifying multiple fronts of disadvantaged people so that their voices are heard and not muted."