Protesters stormed Google’s I/O Conference Tuesday amid technical developers and coding lectures, demanding Google strip pro-life groups from search results on abortion.
When women Google where they can get an abortion, pro-life pregnancy centers intending to give them support during times of crisis sometimes pop up as results. Protesters from progressive activist groups UltraViolet and CREDO Action regard these results as an abomination and interrupted Google’s 2018 I/O conference to demand the media platform remove “crisis pregnancy centers” from search results on abortion, according to Mercury News.
In addition to disrupting the keynote speaker, the protesters said they had a petition with up to 100,000 signatures they would deliver to Google after the conference concluded. They said they would have numerous signs across from Google headquarters reading, “Google, stop lying to women. No to fake, anti-abortion clinics,” Mercury News reported.
“Millions of women rely on Google for honest, accurate information to find legitimate reproductive health care facilities,” UltraViolet co-founder Shaunna Thomas said, alleging that Google is luring pregnant women who want to abort to choose other options, Mercury News reported.
“According to NARAL’s research, using the search engine to find ‘abortion clinics’ led users to a crisis pregnancy center about 79 percent of the time,” freelance writer Robin Marty wrote Monday in Gizmodo. Marty explained how Google Maps is pointing women more frequently to pregnancy help centers than to abortion clinics.
“It’s definitely a problem that [Google] should be aware of and address,” Molly Duane, staff attorney with the Center for Reproductive Rights, told The Guardian.
Google prioritizes actual feedback from clients, however, using Google My Business. More than 350,000 women in 2017 reached out to Option Line — a helpline run by Heartbeat International for pregnant women in crisis — marking the highest single-year number in the hotline’s 15-year history. (RELATED: Are Pro-Life Centers Winning On Google? Reports Say They Are)
Fake clients writing false accounts of their experiences have complicated Google’s feedback mechanism. Google has removed more than 40 false reviews written about pregnancy centers.
Googling “pro-life organizations,” however, also doesn’t always give a reliable list of organizations that advocate for and work to protect life. Planned Parenthood has even appeared as the first result in a Google search for pro-life groups.
“We strive for business results that are relevant, accurate and help users find what they’re looking for. At the same time, we have robust policies in place against misleading and misrepresentative ads,” Google told Mercury News in a statement. “We actively enforce those policies.”
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