Good news, fellow Americans! Sure, we might sue McDonald’s when we spill hot coffee on ourselves, but it turns out we’re not the only country that entertains utterly insane lawsuits anymore. The French are getting in on the trend now, too!
The Facts: Apparently, there are a lot of people out there who are curious about whether celebrities such as media mogul Rupert Murdoch or Mad Men actor Jon Hamm are Jewish. (Really, people? Jon Hamm? In related news, Jon Hamburgerwithcheeseandbacon is also not Jewish.) This would not be particularly newsworthy except that Google is now being sued in France for suggesting that these individuals are Jewish by returning “Jewish” in the autocomplete search results associated with their names. Lawyers for SOS Racisme, a French non-governmental organization that fights discrimination, allege that Google has violated France’s anti-discrimination laws and is overseeing “the creation of what is probably the biggest Jewish file in history.”
Think it’s crazy to hold Google liable for its users’ curiosity? This isn’t the first time. Google has already been hit with multiple lawsuits over its autocomplete search results in the past. For instance, in France, where these suits are particularly popular, a company called Direct Energie was successful in pursuing its defamation lawsuit against the search engine giant in 2009. The judge found that no algorithm could justify the prejudice that was created and ordered Google to stop returning “scam” as a suggested result associated with the company’s name.
But hold on here. Google is not reporting that Hamm and Murdoch are Jewish or that Direct Energie is a scam; what Google is doing is simply reporting that other people have searched these terms in association with one another, which is true. Is the truth no defense to defamation suits in France?
Photo attribution: Flickr/LucktheLady
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