YouTube Autocomplete suggests paedophiliac phrases

Occurred: November 2017

Google's Autocomplete search term prediction function has been found to be returning 'profoundly disturbing' paedophiliac phrases like 'how to have s*x with your kids' and 'how to have s*x kids' for searches for 'how to have' on its YouTube-owned property.

Because Autocomplete and some other YouTube search algorithms are based on popularity, it was suggested to Buzzfeed and other media publications that a coordinated effort could have caused the searches to appear higher in results than they would organically.

The incident raised questions about the apparent ease with which Google's search-related algorithms could be manipulated.

Operator: Alphabet/Google/YouTube
Developer: Alphabet/Google/YouTube
Country: USA
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Predict search results
Technology: NLP/text analysis; Deep learning; Machine learning
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Safety
Transparency: Governance; Black box