'Hot gALLERY' and search engine

One of the linguistics professors from a national university of EMUSIA reached Tenali through a friend and expressed concern regarding a prominent search engine results being systematically biased. He expressed that a global search engine when searched for "Tamil photo" or "Tamil image" returns content most of which relates to "hot tamil gallery", "actress hot photos" or guides to other social media pages containing such content, while searches for "English photo" returns images with English letters. The professor further expressed that he accidentally came across the initial results and expanded his search where, he saw similar results for many searches involving Tamil language and English language. The professor's mother tongue is Tamil and felt that such results offend the Tamil speaking community and discriminate them inappropriately. He mentioned that did not know who to reach out to and hence reached Tenali through a common friend.

Tenali inquired about the mechanism with which search engines work. The Professor explained the process of crawling, indexing and serving search results with high relevance. He further explained that the relevance is based on the user (the person using the search engine), language, location, device used and history of searches. He extracted his search history from the search engine account to show that he had never searched for similar content. He then explained his suspicion that, this may be due to following 2 possible factors: (1) differential privacy of federated learning wherein the search engine associates the user with other cohorts who may have also used similar search strings while the intent of their search may be very different from each other or (2) indexing process wherein the search strings used have been associated with search relating to "hot gallery" or "hot actress".

Tenali comforted him and said, he will take care of the issue and asked the professor not to worry about the same. Few days later, an industry meet was scheduled with the President. The CEO of the global search engine had also come along with a few other domestic multinational corporation leaders for the meeting with the President. Tenali also attended the meeting as a member of the President's team. Post the meeting, Tenali requested the CEO of the global search engine to stay for a few more minutes for an important topic discussion. The President and the CEO were quizzed about the important topic in question and looked at Tenali.

Tenali stayed silent till all the other leaders left the room and then asked the CEO of global search engine pointing at two men who accompanied him, "Sir, are these two people, executives of your organisation?" The CEO responded "Yes. They both are Directors in our organisation. One of them manages our product (search engine) and the other one is the chief of the EMUSIA subsidiary". President continued to stay quizzed, but was sure that Tenali had something in store and so was listening to the conversation patiently.

On hearing the CEO's response, Tenali asked "Sir, do people associate them as Directors within your organisation, or people in the organisation associate one to a Director and the other to a b*****d?". People in the room were shocked to hear Tenali uttering those words. The CEO of the global search engine was furious and shouted "What do you mean?". The two directors were red faced with disappointment. The president was confused and stepped in with a sharp tone to say, "Tenali, What happened? Why are you uttering such words about respected executives. I want you to apologise to them, immediately".

Tenali responded to the President, "Sir, their global search engine shows images of language when searched for 'English photo', but shows images referring to 'hot gallery' or hot actress' when searching for 'Tamil photo'. Search is the same, but for the change in language reference. I made such a statement to just make the point clear" and shared the information he had collected from the Professor with the people in the room. Hearing Tenali, the President looked at the CEO of a global search engine, who was carefully examining the information Tenali shared. The CEO of a global search engine looked up and said to the President, "Sir, I apologise for such misrepresented content that appears to have hurt the sentiments of the professor and many others like him. We will immediately take steps to address this issue and ensure that search results are not discriminated against irrespective of language association provided in the search strings". The President required the CEO of the global search engine to submit a report on the subject to the Ministry of Information Technology and asked Tenali to prepare a note on the discussion for sharing the same with the Minister of Information Technology and the Chief Secretary of the ministry.

As the CEO of the global search engine left the place, the President smiled at Tenali appreciating his wit in dealing with this subject.