Saying that people have strong feelings about U.S. President Donald Trump is an understatement.
Since he began his presidential run two years ago through to his inauguration and beyond, Trump has courted controversy and divided opinions at every turn.
But a Google image search seems to suggest that people the world over agree on a single word they can associate with the U.S. president: idiot.
Giovanni Paola, senior manager of search engine optimization (SEO) at Rogers says internet users are influencing Google’s algorithm to create the result.
In the video below Paola explains SEO and the role it plays in connecting a Trump image with the word “idiot” on Google.
“It’s not Google taking sides on the political spectrum. It’s actually users themselves,” he said. “To determine relevancy, Google relies heavily on relational data between words and images.”
He explains users are posting images of Donald Trump on the internet with the word “idiot” somewhere on that page, often within the metadata of the image itself — which could be as simple as the file name that image was given.
“Over the course of time, when you have a group of people en masse doing this, it sends Google information to make the algorithm think that the words ‘idiot’ and Donald Trump are connected,” Paola said. “So when people search for ‘idiot,’ Google thinks we have to show Trump.”
In the video below Paola explains how people are gaming the system to make Trump the top image in a Google search for “idiot”
As of Thursday morning, eight of the top 10 results of a Google image search for “idiot” were photos of Trump, but Paola adds that it will likely be corrected and won’t last more than a few days.
Google searches do tend to present different results depending on where in the world you are, but the “Trump-idiot” connection seems to hold true in several countries.
CityNews found similar results were seen in the following cities:
- Mumbai, India
- Montego Bay, Jamaica
- Dubai, UAE
- Edinburgh, U.K.
- London, U.K.
- Sao Paolo, Brazil
Similarly, Green Day’s iconic song American Idiot enjoyed a re-entry on music charts, in part thanks to a Twitter campaign that urged people to download and stream the song across the U.K. ahead of Trump’s visit to the country.
The power of the online push got the song to the top of Amazon’s bestseller list and Google Play, 14 years after it was first released.