Google Search Engine Labelled Mueller Report ‘Fiction’

June 11th, 2019 11:35 AM

The world’s most popular search engine classified one of the most crucial legal documents of 2019 as “fiction.”

The Washington Post reported June 10 that Google had been labeling the Mueller Report as “fiction” in the genre category. Google claimed that the categorization was a mistake and fixed it a few hours after the Post published a piece. It’s unclear how long the mistake was up on the search engine, but by the afternoon on June 10, Google was calling the Mueller report “non-fiction.”

A Google spokesperson, Lara Levin, told the Post: “The Knowledge Graph is our systems’ understanding of the people, places and things in the world. While we strive to always present accurate information, errors can occur. When we’re made aware of inaccuracies, we work to fix them quickly.”  

This is far from the first time Google has had an issue with its Knowledge Panel. In 2018, a Google Knowledge Panel called the California GOP the “party of Nazism.” The reason for the error then was a rogue edit made to a Wikipedia page. The reason for this Knowledge Panel mistake is unknown, since the Wikipedia page for the Mueller report calls the document “an official report.”

Google and Facebook are the main targets of an antitrust hearing held by the House Judiciary Committee June 11. In the past, Google has fallen under scrutiny for its business behavior, which resulted in a hearing in December 2018 with Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Pichai assured the Senate that Google did not artificially manipulate search results, nor did it have biased algorithms.