G’accuse: Google falsely blames Berkman Center for bizarre error


A spat between Google and a research group created under the aegis of the Berkman Center roiled the internet this weekend, according to the Harvard Crimson. The problem occurred from 9:30 to 10:25 on Saturday morning, when Google users were warned that nearly all sites listed on the comprehensive search engine were potentially dangerous. Not long after, Google’s official blog listed the Berkman organization, internet watchdog StopBadware, as the culprit. As a result, so many users flooded StopBadware’s website that it crashed.

Google later recanted its claims, admitting that a misplaced backslash on its list of potentially harmful websites was the actual cause of the problem. Professor John Palfrey ’01 told the Crimson that the misattribution of blame had been a pure accident, and that Google had not been looking for a scapegoat.

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