We compared the number of racist sites
returned per keyword in order to quantify racist sites. In order
to broaden the spectrum of sites included we chose to use six different
search engines. Search engines differ greatly, each employing various
methods of searching. Furthermore, each search engine includes different
sites and newsgroups in its searches. For example, unlike the other
five search engines, Dejanews focuses only on newsgroups. Another
difference between search engines is demonstrated by Altavista and Yahoo.
Yahoo, when given two keywords, will only return sites that match both
keywords. Altavista, on the other hand, returns websites and newsgroups
that match either of the keywords.
It is important to note that for various reasons the number of sites returned can be exaggerated. First, search engines are unable to distinguish between meanings of a word. For example, a search for the football team the Florida Panthers might return links to the Black Panthers, because the search engine locates the word panther in both. Also, due to the number of sites included in these searches, uncountable sites are included that don’t meet the requirements of the intended search. It would be almost impossible to objectively look through all, or even most of, of the sites returned. For this reason, searches with large numbers of returns contain numerous unrelated sites.
Table 1 (Organizational keywords and the number of
hits each returned in major search engines)
|Ku Klux Klan||0||14439||1||115288||12336||0|
Chart 1: (The three racist keywords which returned
the most hits)
Chart 2: (Racist keywords returning a smaller number of hits)
Table 1 and Charts 1 and 2 compare
the number of hits returned for various keywords. It is understandable
that white power, nazi and white supremacy returned so many hits, based
on the aforementioned problems with searches. Both white power and
white supremacy are two word keywords (many search engines search for each
keyword separately and add the results together) and white power contains
keywords which when taken separately are relatively non-bias. Also,
when searching for the keyword nazi most search engines can’t distinguish
between nazi hate sites and sites containing historical information on
WWII. Somewhat more surprising is the number of hits kkk, skinhead
and Ku Klux Klan returned. These keywords are incredibly biased in nature
and rarely associated with non-biased keywords. Therefore, the rather
large number of hits returned should be fairly accurate. For example,
even if there were 1,000 incorrect hits for each correct hit, Klu Kluk
Klan would have 115 correct hits on Altavista, and for each one of those
hits a website or a message in a newsgroup containing racist material.
Though not a large number of sites, considering Altavista has 125,000,000
sites in index, these sites still pose a threat to those who may wander
into them. Also startling is the type of sites that are returned with seemingly
scholarly keywords. For example, a search for the white house might
return white supremacy sites.
Table 2 (Number of Yahoo categories returned per keyword)
|Keyword||Number of Hits|
|Ku Kluk Klan||1|
Table 2 shows the number of Yahoo categories per keyword
tested. In order to obtain a category in Yahoo, either yahoo decides
that a group of sites is large enough for its own category or someone suggests
a new category which would include their site. The latter action demonstrates
hate groups actively campaigning for people to go to their sites.
Table 3: Keyword’s Percent of Total Volume
|Ku Klux Klan||.026%||.092%|
|total sites per engine||55,000,000||125,000,000|
Table 3 compares the number of hits received per keyword to the total amount of sites in the index of Excite and Altavista. As previously discussed, various factors exaggerate these figures, especially those of white power and white supremacy, but the overall effect is clear. Racist sites are few in number, but still threaten the internet community.