Google misidentifies engineer as serial killer

Occurred: June 2021

A software engineer based in Switzerland discovered that a Google search of his name confused him with a serial killer of the same name.

Hristo Georgiev believes the error was caused by Google‘s knowledge graph, which generates informational boxes adjacent to its search results. He  reckoned the algorithm matched his picture to the Wikipedia entry because the now-dead killer shared his name.

Google removed Georgiev's image from the killer's infobox after the engineer had reported the issue.

The incident raised concerns about the accuracy and reliability of Google’s Knowledge Graph, and the potential for such errors to have troubling consequences.

System 🤖

Operator: Alphabet/Google  
Developer: Alphabet/Google
Country: Switzerland
Sector: Technology
Purpose: Enhance search engine results
Technology: Knowledge Graph
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Privacy
Transparency: Governance; Black box

Research, advocacy 🧮

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: June 2021
Last updated: June 2024