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ADL Praises Google for Responding to Concerns About Rankings of Hate Sites

New York, NY, April 22, 2004 The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today praised Google for responding to its concerns about rankings of extremist Web sites.  Google has assured ADL that its staff is looking at various technical modifications that will enable the Internet search engine to better identify and categorize racially offensive sites that come up in search results.


In a letter to ADL, Google President Sergey Brin apologized to users who found the search results for the word "Jew" upsetting and promised to work for a solution that would satisfy ADL's concerns and those of users offended by the #1 ranking of an anti-Semitic Web site.


"We are extremely pleased that Google has heard our concerns and those of its users about the offensive nature of some search results and the unusually high ranking of peddlers of bigotry and anti-Semitism," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director.  "Google has shown great responsiveness to this issue and a willingness to consider changes to better identify extremist Web sites, so that users can still have the benefit of Google's unique search technology while being alerted when they are about to enter into a hate zone."


In response to a deluge of e-mails about Google, ADL contacted the company earlier this month to express its concern and offer suggestions for categorizing hate sites without censoring them in the results. Google's response was immediate and has led to ongoing discussions between ADL's Internet monitoring team and Google's technical experts.


Until the technical modifications are implemented, Google has placed text on its site that gives users a clear explanation of how search results are obtained.  Google searches are automatically determined using computer algorithms that take into account thousands of factors to calculate a page's relevance.


"We apologize for the upsetting nature of the experience you had using Google and appreciate your taking the time to inform us about it," Mr. Brin said in his letter.  "This is clearly an issue that we care deeply about, and we plan to explore additional ways of addressing it in the future."

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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2004 Anti-Defamation League