Yesterday, without warning, Google Shopping blacklisted a series of gun-related terms. Searching for words like ‘gun’, ‘AR-15’ and ‘rifle’ returned no results. But, like all blanket bans, this blacklist had unintended consequences.
As you can see above, ‘gun’ returned no results.
But so did everything with ‘gun’ in it. Including:
In its zeal to censor ‘gun’, Google blocked users from viewing products related to a famous hard rock band, an internationally-renowned anime series, an anime/video game franchise, and a beloved manga title.
It’s obvious that the coders at Google hadn’t tested the real-world consequences of their ban. In their quest to stop people from finding guns online, they have inconvenienced a vast array of users looking for everything but guns.
Absurdly, Google did not censor ‘firearm’.
Note that the screenshot only shows products available in Singapore; users from other countries will see other results. Indeed, Americans who have tested the term report being able to search for and purchase firearms online using Google Shopping, rendering the entire exercise in blacklisting ‘gun’ moot.
This morning, I tested Google Shopping again, and discovered that the blacklist on ‘guns’ have been lifted as quietly as it was implemented.
Good riddance to that. Unfortunately, other words remain censored. Below is exhibit A: AR-15.
The AR-15 rifle is the boogeyman of gun grabbers. Going by the rhetoric, it is a black ghost gun fitted with a chainsaw bayonet and a rocket launcher, fed from 1000-round clips loaded with heat-seeking armor piercing incendiary bullets that cook their targets on impact, capable of killing 100000 schoolchildren a second. Little wonder that Google censored it.
But not the military version: the M16.
Consider this: the M16 can fire on full automatic or in bursts, the AR-15 cannot. The former is deadlier than the latter, but Google didn’t see fit to censor the word.
Likewise, the other most infamous rifle in the world, the AK-47, is not censored.
Anyone with even the slightest modicum of gun knowledge can quickly and easily circumvent Google’s blacklist simply by typing in the names of guns, or their variants.
Google has also censored the names of gun companies. This includes Bushmaster and Colt, known for producing AR-15 rifles and for being demonized by the media.
With that said, the word ‘colt’ refers to a male horse below the age of four. I have no doubt that customers looking for horse-related products will be inconvenienced.
Other gun manufacturers are also blacklisted, such as Beretta and Remington.
However, Smith & Wesson, one of America’s oldest gun companies, is not.
While S&W does produce tactical clothing and knives, its primary business is and remains firearms.
Likewise, Spike’s Tactical and Daniel Defense, famous for their custom-made AR-15s, are not blacklisted.
Notice the third hit from Daniel Defense.
Google may censor gun companies with one-word brand names, but not those with two or more. Google isn’t just blacklisting the names of prominent gun companies; it is doing so inconsistently.
This inconsistency continues with the words ‘rifle’ and ‘assault rifle’.
The media’s favourite tactic is to demonise rifles whenever a mass shooter uses one, and to ignore their presence when police or bystanders use rifles to stop a criminal. Small wonder that Google has decided these words are too foul to appear on Google Shopping.
But not the words ‘assault weapon’.
Now, look at the first hit from the above photo, and compare it to the previous.
Gun grabbers do not know anything about guns, only that they want the government to confiscate and control all of them. Google, following the great tradition of the anti-freedom espoused by the modern Left, and working off woefully inadequate knowledge of firearms, has quietly implemented a ban on certain words. A ban that is hilariously ineffective at stopping people from finding guns and outrageously effective at preventing customers from finding non-firearm related products.
Google’s core service is helping people find things on the Internet. By preventing users from doing so with its blacklist, including things not on its blacklist, Google is shooting itself in both feet. Left unchecked, I have no doubt that Google will expand its blacklist and implement similar censorship functions in its main search engine and other services.
When a company places politics above business, it is no longer interested in serving you. Get off Google, use alternatives like DuckDuckGo, and prepare alternatives to Google’s other services. If Google wishes to die, I won’t stop it.
If you enjoy fiction that respects firearms, check out my latest novel HAMMER OF THE WITCHES.