Baha'i Religion Upset With Google Knowledge Graph

May 22, 2012 • 8:24 am | comments (11) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine

no lookingThose six million people who are part of the Baha'i Faith are a bit upset with Google over their new Knowledge Graph.

One Baha'i or Bahá'u'lláh follower posted in the Google Web Search Help forums explaining the issue.

In short, when you Google certain phrases, such as [declaration of the bab], which is a holiday they celebrate, up comes pictures of Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. Those who observe the faith rarely ever look at pictures of Báb and Bahá'u'lláh. They consider them a Manifestation of God and thus do not look at depictions of them either in pictures, drawings or other forms.

According to Wikipedia, they only may look at a picture on a pilgrimage to Haifa, Israel where the shrine of Bab is.

When you Google that term, Google shows a picture of both of them:

Baha'i Religion Upset With Google Knowledge Graph

The Google Baha'i follower said, "I know other non-Baha'i Google users may find the pictures helpful, but to Baha'i Google users, they are quite inappropriate."

They can click "report a problem" but I am not sure if Google would remove the picture?

Forum discussion at Google Web Search Help.

Image credit to ShutterStock for eyes covered image

Previous story: Daily Search Forum Recap: May 21, 2012


Nathaniel Bailey

05/22/2012 01:10 pm

Google shouldn't have to remove the images, its for everyone not a small religion that finds it wrong to look at an image that the majority would find helpful and a good resource to their search. Maybe we should ask google if they can check what religion people are before giving results? Or perhaps google could make a Baha's specific domain just for them to search on? lol I don't mean offence by any of that btw, I just don't see how people can complain about google showing what's relevant to the majority?


05/22/2012 01:30 pm

Stay off the internet then!


05/22/2012 02:01 pm

It seems like a bit of hyperbole to suggest that six million people are upset based on a question that a single person posted very respectfully on the Google forum a few hours ago.

Ross Dunn

05/22/2012 05:52 pm

I would love to have a peek at the myriad of unique accommodations Google is requested to make in an average year. This sort of thing is extremely intriguing and I have no idea how they would handle it other than offering some content control options in user settings (i.e. "show no images related to keyword X" without user intervention). Fascinating.

Andrew Whyman

05/23/2012 10:31 am

Of course they could keep everyone happy and just have a call to action that then displays the images on this particular search term. By default it doesn't show but if you want it, you click for it. Easy.


05/23/2012 12:37 pm

Yes but what if tomorrow someone will complain that on google there are images with womans and the hair on the head is visibile and in some religion that's not acceptable. Do they need to cut those out ? Or ad a button to click if you really want to see those images ? :)


05/23/2012 01:41 pm

I agree that Google shouldn't have to make accommodations in the knowledge graph for every users keyword specific hot button issues because I could see another case where a woman who recently had a miscarriage would be caused distress by seeing images of a baby. It probably also doesn't make sense for Google to create a switch in the user settings to disable/enable the Knowledge Graph for each user. However, it appears that the Knowledge graph is intelligent enough to not display images of Muhammed in the right column, though those images are still available in the image search. So it seems like a reasonable enough question to ask...

Cleofe Betancourt

05/23/2012 02:08 pm

If the true intent of this feature is to further knowledge, then Google should be mindful of tenets of the faith they describe and remove the pictures. It is a simple fix that goes a long way.


05/24/2012 12:51 am

The supposedly "image" of the Báb that shows above is not, it is Siyyid Kazim. Google should not show the images of the Báb or Bahá'u'lláh in search results because it is inappropriate and also misleading.


05/29/2012 09:01 am

This may be such instances where there is no control over what comes up on the Internet but having said that, there should be a way to control the flow of information and in this regard it is about respecting this Faith where the images of the Prophets are sacred and is not meant to be circulated widely. There is a reason for this which may take into another explanation on it's own but for now, do hope that Google can find a solution to this and such related matters where people simply do not want certain information to be made public. Thank you.


02/20/2014 10:54 pm

The Baha'is do not by any stretch of the imagination have six million followers--this is a quiet fraud perpetuated by the religion's leadership. That said, I would support deferring to their wishes and not displaying the offending photos.

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