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Rory Cellan-Jones

Google Home devices were spouting fake news reports about nazis and a coup



John-Michael Bond


Posted on Mar 7, 2017   Updated on May 24, 2021, 9:31 pm CDT

The rise of smart devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo have made it easier than ever to keep up with the news, listen to music, stay connected, and even find out about the latest conspiracy theories. Google admitted on Monday that its Google Home device had indeed been accidentally warning people that former President Barack Obama was planning a coup against the government.

The goof was first caught by Twitter user Rory Cellan-Jones. You can hear it here.

Before you think this is simply a problem for liberals—or, you know, anyone who cares about the overthrow of the American government—Google Home also had some choice words about Republicans, captured by SearchEngineLand’s Danny Sullivan.

In a statement to Quartz, Google explained the issue was caused by its Featured Snippets function, which is designed to give quick answers based on search engine queries.

“Featured Snippets in Search provide an automatic and algorithmic match to a given search query, and the content comes from third-party sites. Unfortunately, there are instances when we feature a site with inappropriate or misleading content. When we are alerted to a Featured Snippet that violates our policies, we work quickly to remove them, which we have done in this instance. We apologize for any offense this may have caused.”

Remember folks, be on the lookout for fake news, whether you read it online or you’re told it by the super-computer in your kitchen that plays you Spotify while you make pancakes.

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*First Published: Mar 7, 2017, 12:06 pm CST