Last week I downloaded Brave and surfed around with it for a bit. It gave me trouble on some websites, so I returned to Google Chrome after a few hours of use. On my iPhone I used ChromeOS because it is faster than Safari, and better handles multiple tabs.
Yesterday I got a message from Google as I researched the facts around the Chasity Dawn Carey case. I wanted to see how popular a name is Chasity. It looked to me as if either her parents, the administrator was who filled out Chasity’s birth certificate, were morons. But perhaps chasity was a legitimate thing, and not a misspelled chastity. I typed “chasity” into Chrome for iOS on my iPhone, and this is what I received:
Note the picture which accompanies Wikipedia’s definition. I could not better define our society’s vision of chastity: A virtuous moral standard where technology is used and weaponized to lock up and humiliate men’s sexuality. After I took the screenshot, I typed in “chastity”, spelled correctly, and got this back:
The penis cage was gone, but so was the moral definition! In its place was a nothing-but-the-material definition of chastity; as if chastity correctly understood is merely one choice among many, and pretty lame to boot. Gone were the words about virtue and morals.
The thing making choices here isn’t me: It’s the search engine, Google, who also makes the Chrome browser. This is what Google thinks we should get: Either a message that, morally, chastity is best used to shame men, and that otherwise chastity is an outdated mechanic for…not much of anything.
I hadn’t yet downloaded Brave for iOS so I did; right after the above screenshot of Chrome for iOS. This is what I got when I typed “chasity” (intentionally misspelled) into Brave AFTER I changed the default search engine to duckduckgo:
Well, who do you elbow and did you see that? DuckDuckGo picked a short, positive definition for chastity as its default. Then I went straight-up crazy and goosed them for a response to “chastity” itself:
It’s the same text from Wikipedia as was returned when I searched for chasity in Google, but the picture is different. In fact (props to Wikipedia) that 15thC painting in the DDG results is from their article on chastity. Which means that the Google search engine isn’t simply regurgitating Wikipedia. Compare the format in the first screenshot and the last. Google is copying Wikipedia’s entry, but then substituting what it thinks is a better representation of chastity: a penis cage.
Now, let’s reflect on the power and authority Google wields in the world, and wonder how often our children will Google routine information.
I know nothing about the religion or politics the folks at DuckDuckGo, but they’re all right with me so far.