Did you know that there’s a black man in the White House? Apparently, Google Maps does, and the app doesn’t quite enjoy the thought much. When many people type “N*gga House” in the search bar on Google Maps, they are routed to the current residence of the United States’ first black President — the White House.
A screenshot of this suspiciously racist phenomenon was captured by Bomani Buckhalter on Twitter:
“The screenshot first appeared from a fellow Howard University alum in our alumni GroupMe. I tested it out myself, and it started to spread rapidly in the other Howard University/DMV area GroupMe,” Buckhalter told The Huffington Post. He went on to say:
It is location based, so [for] some of the students that are not currently in D.C., the search result was different. However, even if you’re not in D.C., ‘nigga house Washington D.C.’ shows the same result.
Depressingly, if one chooses to search for the “N*gger House” instead, the results are the same:
As noted, the search is regional. One user reports that the search phrase takes them to a Waffle House:
Addicting Info’s Shannon Barber was routed to the Underground Railroad TV in Chicago, Illinois:
It is unclear why the phrase would lead people to the White House, but The Huffington Post notes that Google Maps has been the victim of pranks in the past. . Bryan Seely, who has created fake listings for the U.S. Secret Service and the FBI in Google Maps, told Search Engineland how to create phony listings:
You create a business in Google Maps at an address where you can receive mail and with a phone number you can receive calls to. You get Google to send you a verification postcard to the address. Once the business is verified, you delete it from your account. Then you use another Google account to claim this now orphaned business. You gain control over it by doing verification via phone. Once that’s happened, you’re free to move the business to anywhere you want, change the name and alter other details.
Seely used this method to put Edward Snowden in the White House.
As of yet, Google remains silent on the issue, so it is uncertain how this happened. But, if it is the work of a prankster, it would not be surprising.
When President Obama joined Twitter, he was quickly welcomed with racist messages, including “Welcome to Twitter, N*gger.” With all the horrific bigotry the Right throws at him, the last thing the President needs is for Google to pile more on.