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Google Photos Identifies Two Black Users As 'Gorillas'

Mountain View, Calif. (CBS SACRAMENTO) -- Google was forced to apologize after its Photos program identified two black users as "gorillas."

Jacky Alcine, 21, of Brooklyn checked his Google Photos account Sunday and found that the program had automatically generated and labeled a folder titled "Gorillas" for a photo of himself and a friend taken in 2013, Yahoo Tech reports.

The Google Photos image recognition software is intended to identify a photo and automatically file photos into groups with similar images – a photo of a tree would automatically be placed in a folder filled with other photos of trees.

But the software showed a glitch Sunday, prompting Google to apologize for placing the black friends into an automatically generated "gorillas" folder.

Google's chief architect of social, Yonatan Zunger, responded: "@jackyalcine Thank you for telling us so quickly! Sheesh. High on my list of bugs you *never* want to see happen. ::shudder::"

"We're appalled and genuinely sorry that this happened," a Google representative told Yahoo Tech. "We are taking immediate action to prevent this type of result from appearing. There is still clearly a lot of work to do with automatic image labeling, and we're looking at how we can prevent these types of mistakes from happening in the future."

Alcine, a computer programmer, said he believes the glitch was caused by a faulty Google algorithm, noting, "This could have been avoided with accurate and more complete classifying of black people, especially darker-toned people of color like myself and my friend."

He noted that although the issue has been primarily addressed, "there's still complications with the hands obscuring the face causing it to still match to the gorilla tag. Chimp gives results as well (but not chimpanzee)."

A Google representative told Yahoo Tech, "We test our image recognition systems on people of all races and colors."

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