Search for ‘best toilet paper in the world’ shows Pakistani flag, Google says no

Tuesday 19 February 2019 8:11 AM UTC

LONDON Feb 19: Google searches for “best toilet paper in the world” appear to have been manipulated to return images of the Pakistan national flag, BBC reported.

According to BBC, the results are believed to be the work of protesters acting in response to an attack in Indian-administered Kashmir that left at least 40 soldiers dead. It is the deadliest militant attack on Indian forces in Kashmir since the insurgency against Indian rule began. Pakistan-based Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammad said it was behind the attack.

The flag-toilet paper connection emerged soon after the 14 February attack in a few blogs commenting on the attack and became a trending topic on social media over the weekend. The number of people searching for the connection may have also influenced how Google returns results.

Now a Google search returns news stories about the link but anyone searching images for the “best toilet paper in the world” gets a page dominated by the green and white flag. Many of the images are from news stories about the connection. Others are screenshots of the critical social media posts that linked the flag to toilet paper.

Google today said it has found no evidence that its search algorithms are showing the Pakistani flag when people searched for the “best toilet paper in the world”, the “best China-made toilet paper” or just “toilet paper”.

“While we continue to investigate the matter, we have not found any evidence that Google Images was ranking the Pakistani flag in response to this particular search,” a company spokesperson told IANS.

“Many news outlets wrote about an old screenshot from a meme website that is inconsistent with our UI (user interface) and dates back to 2017, and we have not seen any independent verification that these results ever appeared as depicted,” the spokesperson added.

Media reports have said this glitch on Google Search results was noticed after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack that left 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel dead.

Screenshots of the search results went viral as memes, posts and status updates on several social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

“Since these news stories (have been) published, images from those articles are now ranking for this query, as the pages contain words relevant to the search,” the Google spokesperson added. Agencies

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