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Google Maps apologizes for linking racial slur to the White House

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Google Maps apologized after it emerged that searches using racist language pinpointed the White House, home of President Barack Obama.

The offensive scenario was brought to light after it was noticed that searches combining a racial slur and the word “house” took people to the White House in Google’s free online mapping service in some locations.

An AFP search on Google Maps late Wednesday using a variation on the racist phrase resulted in being shown the location of The White House with the description “iconic home of America’s president.”

It was unclear whether the outcome resulted from a search algorithm being duped or flawed, or was caused by a user taking advantage of crowd-sourced editing capabilities intended to improve maps with local knowledge.

“Some inappropriate results are surfacing in Google Maps that should not be, and we apologize for any offense this may have caused,” the California-based Internet titan said in a released statement.

“Our teams are working to fix this issue quickly.”

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Google on Monday said it is sidelining its crowd-sourced map making tool to implement a way to prevent bogus edits which have proven embarrassing.

The Map Maker service became “temporarily unavailable” beginning Tuesday, according to a message posted online.

“As some of you know already, we have been experiencing escalated attacks to spam Google Maps over the past few months,” Pavithra Kanakarajan of the Map Maker team said in a written explanation of the decision.

Last month, the California-based Internet giant began re-evaluating its user-edited online map system after the latest embarrassing incident — an image of an Android mascot urinating on an Apple logo.

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The image, part of a crowd-sourced edit on Google Maps, appeared briefly at a Pakistani location before it was removed.

In a statement to US media at the time, Google apologized and said it was working to step up verification of user edits on its Map Maker platform.

Earlier in April, someone revised the map of the White House in Washington to include a new business called “Edwards Snow Den,” an apparent effort to draw attention to former national security contractor Edward Snowden, who leaked a trove of secret documents on US surveillance.

The pranks were done with map making tools that allow any user to edit online maps. Google let people modify maps in the spirit of tapping into intimate, local knowledge to make them more accurate and detailed.

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Russians to prod Putin on poverty and his personal life as his ratings tank

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Russians are set to ask President Vladimir Putin about growing poverty at home and tensions abroad during an annual televised phone-in Thursday, which comes following a fall in his approval ratings.

The leader is also likely to face a degree of grilling on his personal life, according to questions submitted by the public online ahead of the live show.

Set to be held for the 17th time since Putin came to power in 1999, the show starts at 0900 GMT and usually lasts several hours.

Ahead of the carefully choreographed show, more than one million questions had been submitted, organisers told Russian news agencies.

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Trump could turn on Hope Hicks just like Michael Cohen: Trump family biographer warns

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Trump family biographer Emily Jane Fox explained that she didn't think that the president would turn on long-time aide Hope Hicks, but then again, it was the same thought about Michael Cohen as well.

In a panel discussion about Hicks' testimony during MSNBC's Brian Williams' Wednesday show, Fox recalled that Micahel Cohen once said that he would take a bullet for the president. Once it appeared that Trump would throw him under the bus, Cohen began looking for a way out.

The same scenario seems to be happening with Hicks now.

"She works at new Fox, which is a company run by a Murdoch son," Fox said. "It's a company that's brand new. She's the head of communications there. And there are shareholders who would take issue with the fact that a senior member of this company is being put in this situation and being thrust on the world stage."

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Trump jumped to Speaker Pelosi’s defense in marathon Fox News interview

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In a strange twist, President Donald Trump appeared to defend House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday.

Hannity began by saying to Trump that he believes Pelosi has lost control of her own party, as officials like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) continue to call for impeachment.

"I say Nancy Pelosi is the speaker in name only," Hannity told Trump, calling Ocasio-Cortez the real start.

But what Trump said was the unusual point.

"I think Nancy Pelosi probably has control of it, I hear different things, but I think she does," Trump said, appearing to defend the Speaker. "She knows what she's doing. We will see how it all comes out."

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