Google apologizes to black user who reported he and his friend were tagged as ‘gorillas’

The billionaire tech company Google so liberal is finding itself making embarrassed apologies after one of its new photo applications mistakenly labeled a black computer programmer and his friend as “gorillas,” Yahoo Tech reported.

Brooklyn resident Jacky Alcine, 21, was using the new Google Photos application, designed to auto-tag photos to make searching photos uploaded to the service simpler, when the mislabeling occurred, according to Yahoo Tech.

Alcine, was looking over his account when he said he noticed the service automatically created an album labeled “Gorillas” and included a picture from  2013.

Alcine wasn’t amused — and he let Google know it in an obscenity-powered tweet that declared “ya’ll f****ed up.”

Yonatan Zunger, whose job title at Google is “chief architect, ” tweeted back to Alcine.

“Thank you for telling us so quickly!” he tweeted. “Sheesh. High on my list of bugs you *never* want to see happen. ::shudder::”

The company quickly issued an apology.

“We’re appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened,” a company representative told Yahoo Tech.

“We are taking immediate action to prevent this type of result from appearing. There is still clearly a lot of work to do with automatic image labeling, and we’re looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future,” the representative added.

Hours later Google reported that the problem was fixed, according to Yahoo Tech.

Alcine said that as of Monday evening, the issue had largely been addressed, though he noted, “there’s still complications with the hands obscuring the face causing it to still match to the gorilla tag. Chimp gives results as well (but not chimpanzee).”

Alcine believes the gaffe was caused by a faulty Google algorithm. But he added, “This could have been avoided with accurate and more complete classifying of black people, especially darker-toned people of color like myself and my friend.”

For its part, a Google representative said, “We test our image recognition systems on people of all races and colors.”


Carmine Sabia


Latest Articles