In the wake of the Florida school shooting, Google decided to take a stand. The gatekeeper of the Internet decided to filter shopping searches that included the term “gun.” It didn't go so well.
Early Tuesday morning, Internet shoppers started noticing and documenting the digital gaffes. Users received error notices when they searched for glue guns and water guns, toy guns and airsoft guns, nail guns and nerf guns. The algorithm is apparently so strict that even the color "burgundy" triggered an error because it includes "gun" in the spelling.
This set off something of a parlor game on social media. Turns out, adults don’t like it when faceless bureaucrats try enforcing arbitrary restrictions — federal, corporate, or otherwise.
Casey “Stable Genius” Smith found that Google now censors “Laguna Beach."
Technousayt observed that the beloved Tom Cruise film about beach volleyball, “Top Gun,” also could not be found.
KingPrewyoko noticed that a search for American hard-rock super-group Velvet Revolver did not return any results. Neither did searches for the Sex Pistols, the Indianapolis Colts, or the word “trifle."
Here are three examples of brands affected by the filtering of words related to 'gun' by @Google.— ♔ Prewyoko (@KingPrewyoko) February 27, 2018
In addition, Google has either not adjusted the filtering for the word 'rifle' or the company really dislikes a certain English dessert. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/Ru6SJHNhqF
The benevolent nanny nerds at Google quickly began cleaning up their mistake. Many of the search terms had been restored by the early evening, but not before an important lesson was learned: Attempts to coddle adults will always backfire.
Granted, Google is a private company. If they think they can help keep our streets safe by banning the sale of guns and gun-related paraphernalia on their website, go for it.
But is that effective? No, not at all.
As the Washington Post noted half a decade ago, it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to purchase a firearm through the world wide web. Even the most upstanding citizen can’t log on, make a purchase, and then lock and load. They can make the purchase, but then the gun has to be shipped to a licensed firearm dealer and they still have to go through a background check. By design, it's a laborious process.
So, in the end, Google’s war on the gun was really quite silly and pointless. The virtue-signaling stunt only exposed their own stupidity.