TECH

Google's Home Speaker Found To Be Reading False Story As Fact

Oh not you too.

06/03/2017 13:30 GMT

While Facebook, Twitter and Reddit have seen accusations of promoting fake news leveled at them for some time now, for the most part, Google has managed to keep itself out of the firing line.

But, as with all good things, it hasn’t lasted.

And now the tech giant is at the centre of a fake news storm as its newest hardware, Google Home, has been caught recalling a fairly suspect news source when asked a question about President Barack Obama.

In a video shared on Twitter by the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones, when asked if Obama is planning a coup, the speaker responds: “According to Secrets Of The Fed. According to details exposed in Western Center for Journalism’s exclusive video, not only could Obama be in bed with the communist Chinese, but Obama may in fact be planning a communist coup d’etat at the end of his term in 2016.”

While we can’t claim to know the inner workings of Obama’s secret circles, as anyone who has lived through Trump’s inauguration will testify, the end of Obama’s term in the White House did not in fact end with a Communist coup.

Meaning that the answer provided by Google Home is at best factually incorrect, and at worst, pretty damn terrifying.

Google Home sources its information via Google Assistant, meaning it is referring back to Google itself when you ask it a question. A feature that is meant to set it above rival Amazon Echo, but it seems having instant access to unchecked results isn’t perhaps all it is cracked up to be.  

This Google Snippet is where the Home speaker would have sourced the information from when answering the Obama question, as seen here from a screenshot on 5 March.

Since the accusations have become public, the search engine now does not pull this snippet because news stories have pushed its ranking on to the second page. 

Google Page 1

But the ‘Secrets Of The Fed’ article, referred to by Google Home, is still there on the second page.

Google Page 2

Not only that, but due to the way Google Home is collecting answers from the search rankings, it could easily feature fake news again, if the news is ranking highly enough.

According to Yahoo, the device has also been reporting that five former Presidents of the USA were members of the KKK, and that Obama is ‘king of the United States’ as this information appears in this Breitbart article from 2014.