June 28, 2012
French groups drop suit against Google
French groups have settled a lawsuit accusing Google of violating French anti-racism laws because of a function that they say perpetuated anti-Semitic stereotypes.
Google’s “autocomplete” feature suggests the word “juif” or “Jewish” as a top choice in connection with public figures such as Rupert Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp., The New York Times reported.
The terms of the settlement came after court-ordered mediation and are confidential, the newspaper reported. Google has not said whether it would change the feature, but said it will work with the suit’s plaintiffs on efforts to combat anti-racism and anti-Semitism, the paper added.
Among the groups suing Google were SOS Racisme and the French Union of Jewish Students. They argued that by using the term juif, Google was furthering ideas about Jewish conspiracies.
Google has said the feature’s terms are generated by an automatic algorithm that includes frequency of searches linking items.