Thursday, March 23, 2006

Abortion ? ...

... maybe you meant "adoption?" Well. Not any more.
As you probably know, has various automated suggestions to correct spelling errors and display related items. These are based on computer algorithms of other users' activity. Type in plaque, and Amazon asks, "Did you mean: plague?"

But the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice suspected bias at work, and complained to the company that when you typed in abortion, Amazon asked, "Did you mean: adoption?"

"I thought it was offensive," retired Episcopalian minister James Lewis told The New York Times. Actually, Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith explained, "Adoption and abortion are the same except for two keystrokes." But to avoid offense, the company went in and changed the coding so that the question is no longer asked. "Amazon's sensitivity and willingness to act are rare," the RCRC responded in a press release. "Anti-choice bias is so deeply ingrained in American culture that even fair-minded people fail to notice it."

Hmm. Think Amazon would have been so amenable if Christians had complained that the first search that comes up when you type Jesus is a book that denies all the central tenets of Christianity? (Don't complain about it. I'm just saying … )
[From the CT weblog.]

1 comment:

assiniboine said...

An interesting musing on searches in 3QuarksDaily: "Monday Musing: Ghettos of the Mind, or What tells us about ourselves" by Robin Varghese.