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French racism suit against Google dropped

Google will work with those who sued it on educational anti-racism programs

French anti-racism groups including SOS Racisme and the French Union of Jewish Students agreed Wednesday to drop a lawsuit against Google accusing the search giant of violating French laws against racism.

The groups were originally upset that the autocomplete function of Google’s search service often suggests the term “juif,” the French word for “Jewish,” in conjunction with public figures such as Rupert Murdoch. Google claims that the words that show up in autocomplete are based on how often people search those terms, and are placed there by an algorithm. So if racist phrases show up, it’s the fault of society, not the company, it says.

Going forward, Google has agreed to work with the anti-racism groups on projects that educate people and help prevent racism and anti-Semitism. The settlement is confidential, however, so we don’t know if Google agreed to make changes to the autocomplete technology.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


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