Friday, December 19, 2014

The case of Harald Doornboos and the bloody shoe

This is the story of a bloody shoe:

As Wikipedia explains, it's:
A child's bloodied shoe inside the shopping mall in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon after a missile, fired by Palestinian militants inside the Gaza Strip, exploded on a mall on 14 May 2008 severely injuring several Israelis, including one child and a woman, and wounding dozens of other civilians.

After the Taliban attack on a Pakistani school, the picture started going around as if it's from Peshawar.  BBC Trending even posted a notice about it, warning people it was the shoe of an Israeli child.

Dutch journalist Harald Doornbos apparently didn't see the warning because he tweeted that it's not from Peshawar but rather from Gaza.

And he even helpfully told us how he got to this conclusion. He did a Google image search on it, and Google suggested he was looking for "dead children of gaza", and offered him only pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel sites spreading the lie that this image was from Gaza.

When I do a search on the image on its own, Google suggests that I'm looking for "israel palestine peace" and links me to the Wikipedia article that explains where the image is from.  And if I do the same search from Doornbos' results, I get "isis killing children", which links me to various anti-IS sites.

The thing is, Google builds a profile of it users.  You like reading about cheesecake, it will direct you to cheesecake sites. You spend your time surfing anti-Israel sites?  Guess what it will give you.

Doornbos lives in a bubble of his own making and he doesn't even realize it.  He thinks that when he Googles, he searches the entire internet and really gets the story from all sides.  But in reality, Google is just reflecting his own bias back at him.

And that's the sad side of this whole story.

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