Google 'recommends' gay porn

Summary:Google is serving up what some internet users have described as "hardcore pornography" in a new feature it introduced to Google Reader earlier this year.

Google is serving up what some internet users have described as "hardcore pornography" in a new feature it introduced to Google Reader earlier this year.

On Google's support forum, user Naomi Miname said that she had clicked on the "recommended items" tab in Google Reader and was shown an RSS feed that included hardcore pornography.

"How can this possibly be happening?" Miname said. "This stuff has nothing to do with any search interests of mine, and [I] can't believe these have been 'recommended' for me."

Other Google Reader users said the same thing had been occurring when they logged into their Google Reader account. "I got the same garbage, and found it incredibly offensive," said user dhowe.

Another user started a new thread on the forum and said that they were being served up gay pornography. User letsread said they subscribed to a "pretty harmless array of RSS feeds". Those feeds included pictures of "adorable animals", pictures of "pretty clothes" and home items, book blogs and general pop-culture/general interest blogs.

"Previously, my recommended items feed was full of similar posts, and I liked looking through it while really bored at work," the user said. "[Now] every fifth item or so is at least a picture of a muscle-y dude in a wet t-shirt.

"I tried to go into my recommended sources to say 'no thanks!' to 'best gay blogs' and 'beauty and the bum,' ... but I can't.

"Where did all the gay porn come from? How can I make it stop? It's not that I don't think it should be included in Google Reader; let the gay porn consumers run as wild as they'd like with their own RSS feeds. I just want mine to be full of stupid FailBlog posts and pretty outfits again," letsread said.

Google Reader engineer Mihai Parparita said on the support forum that Google was "very sorry" and blamed "growing pains" for the serving up of the pornography.

To counter the problem, Parparita set-up a Google spreadsheet for people to refer RSS URLs to Google to prevent further recommendations.

"I've removed this item from your recommendations, and we'll make sure that nothing from that feed gets recommended again," Parparita told user Miname.

Oops. I guess Google's algorithms have come out of the closet.

Topics: Google, Security

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