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Barack Obama is organising a coup against Donald Trump, claims Google Home robot

There is no real evidence that the former President is planning a communist overthrow of the government, and he almost certainly isn't

Andrew Griffin
Monday 06 March 2017 13:49 GMT

Barack Obama is working with the communist Chinese government to plan a coup.

That's according to Google's Home assistant, the little cylinder that sits in people's houses and speaks to them, working similar to Amazon's Alexa. But there is absolutely no evidence for the claim and Mr Obama does not appear to be planning to overthrow Donald Trump.

That doesn't stop the box spewing out the fake news, if it's asked whether or not Mr Obama is planning a coup – a common conspiracy theory that has been suggested by Mr Trump in recent days.

The problem appears to be a consequence of Google's smart search results. In an attempt to make searches faster, the site pulls small snippets out from various websites that can be shown on the results page – or read out by the Google Home – rather than clicking through to the page and reading it from there.

But because Google is pulling its answer to "Is Obama planning a coup" from the website 'Secrets of the Fed', it answers with the same conspiracy theory. The message is not just read out on the Google Home but shown to anyone who searches for the same question.

"According to details exposed in Western Center for Journalism's exclusive video, not only could Obama be in bed with the communist Chinese, but Obama may be in fact be planning a communist coup d'état at the end of his term in 2016!" anyone trying to find out whether or not Mr Obama is planning a coup will be told.

The next result does come from ABC News and has the headilne "No, former President Obama isn't planning a coup against President Trump". But that isn't read out by the Google Home and isn't visible when searching on mobile.

It is far from the first embarrassing result that the snippets feature has shown or read out. The site offers an option to give "feedback" about specific instances, and tries to use its algorithm to pick out the ones that will be most useful and accurate.

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