Google apologizes after app mistakenly labels black people 'gorillas'

Google Photos' image recognition system mistakenly caused a racist label to be attached to people with dark skin.

WARNING: Story contains explicit language

Google has apologized after the image-recognition feature in one of its apps mistakenly labelled people with dark skin as 'gorillas.' (Jacky Alciné/Twitter)

Google has come under fire after the image-recognition feature in its Photos application mistakenly identified people with dark skin as "gorillas." 

Jacky Alciné of New York City tweeted a picture of himself and a friend on Sunday that the application labelled as "gorillas," a word that also has racist connotations.

In a followup tweet, Alciné, who works as a web developer, said although he could understand how the error might have happened, he could not understand why. The tweet quickly prompted Yonatan Zunger, Google's chief architect of social, to issue an apology. 

The tagging feature responsible for the mistake is relatively new and has been widely mocked online for other mistakes.

The app gradually refines categorizations as it receives more data, according to the Verge.

Google officials released a statement saying the company is "appalled and genuinely sorry" about the label. After attempting to fix the algorithm, Google decided to temporarily remove the gorilla label, including the application's ability to search for gorillas, according to the New York Times.

With files from The Associated Press


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