On the day that would have been Trayvon Martin’s 19th birthday, Internet users found an unexpected result from search engine Google’s algorithms.
Those searching the terms “Trayvon Martin’s birthday” were presented with the landing page for his killer, George Zimmerman.
Zimmerman was acquitted of second degree murder charges in the death of Martin last year.
“When I google “Trayvon Martin birthday” (today, btw) I do not want biographical information about his murderer,” tweeted Jere Keys. “Look what pops up when I google Trayvon Martin’s birthday,” wrote another Twitter user. “So much for ‘gone but not forgotten.'”
Representatives for Google were unavailable for comment but an explanation for the puzzling result could be in the search engine’s complex process for generating search results.
Specifics of the algorithm are a closely guarded secret but Google’s search results come from automated “crawler” programs that use keywords to identity relevant content.
Results are then ranked and ordered based on a number of measures including how many Web pages link to a particular page, how long the page has existed, and the frequency and location of keywords within the page.
UPDATE: Google’s team has since edited the search result to direct users to information about Martin. A rep told theGrio, “Occasionally our automated systems miss; we encourage people to click the “Feedback” link whenever they spot something like this.”
Follow Donovan X. Ramsey at @iDXR