Toronto’s Mayor outraged over unflattering portrayal of Scarborough

City Hall addresses the backlash Google faces over horrid portrayal of one of Ontario's most diverse city, Scarborough.

Mayor John Tory responding to the controversial Google image of Scarborough in a scrum during the recess of the Nov. 26, 2019 city council meeting. (Danica David photo)

Google has faced criticism and backlash for the unflattering photo that generated when users did a search for the east Toronto neighbourhood. The company issued a public apology and took down that photo.

“I was horrified,” said Mayor John Tory Tuesday, as he proactively took action into his own hands by using his Twitter platform and calling attention to the insult.

Scarborough, one of the most diverse cities in Ontario, was deeply misrepresented by a quick online Google search. When individuals would Google the word Scarborough, a half-demolished house would be the first image to show for the city.

On Tuesday, during city council meeting, councillors brought up the negative portrayal of Scarborough in the media.

“I was ticked off when I saw it,” said Tory.

Coun. Michael Thompson, Ward 21, Scarborough-Centre, felt there is more that should be done to embrace the people of Scarborough.

At the city council meeting, he pushed forward a motion to create an action plan to portray Scarborough in a better light.

“Until I drew attention to this insulting photo last week, Scarborough’s iconic image was a crumbling house. Google blamed it on one of their algorithms, Thompson said, clearly dissatisfied with Google’s response. “When I googled Scarborough yesterday, only a map appeared, no photo at all.”

Thompson spoke highly of Scarborough and questioned Google’s artificial intelligence for not being able to find the beauty of Scarborough, such as the Scarborough Bluffs or the diversity, rather a crumbling house or a plain, geographical map.

“One of the things I would like to do is that I want to do a photo contest or competition in Scarborough,” Thompson said.

The action plan that councillor Thompson proposed is to change the pictures that are populated when Scarborough is Googled.

About this article

Posted: Nov 27 2019 1:09 pm
Filed under: Community News