Article by Mark Graham in Slate, Nov. 30, 2015: Why Does Google Say Jerusalem Is the Capital of Israel? It has to do with the fact that the Web is now optimized for machines, not people.
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2015/11/why_does_google_say_jerusalem_is_the_capital_of_israel.html Excerpt: [...] because of the ease of separating content from containers, the provenance of data is often obscured. Contexts are stripped away, and sources vanish into Google’s black box. For instance, most of the information in Google’s infoboxes on cities doesn’t tell us where the data is sourced from. Second, because of the stripping away of context, it can be challenging to represent important nuance. In the case of Jerusalem, the issue is less that particular viewpoints about the city’s status as a capital are true or false, but rather that there can be multiple truths, all of which are hard to fold into a single database entry. Finally, it’s difficult for users to challenge or contest representations that they deem to be unfair. Wikidata is, and Freebase used to be, built on user-generated content, but those users tend to be a highly specialized group—it’s not easy for lay users to participate in those platforms. And those platforms often aren’t the place in which their data is ultimately displayed, making it hard for some users to find them. Furthermore, because Google’s Knowledge Base is so opaque about where it pulls its information from, it is often unclear if those sites are even the origins of data in the first place. Jerusalem is just one example among many in which knowledge bases are increasingly distancing (and in some case cutting off) debate about contested knowledges of places. [followed by more examples] My point is not that any of these positions are right or wrong. It is instead that the move to linked data and the semantic Web means that many decisions about how places are represented are increasingly being made by people and processes far from, and invisible to, people living under the digital shadows of those very representations. Contestations are centralized and turned into single data points that make it difficult for local citizens to have a significant voice in the co-construction of their own cities. [...] Linked data and the machine-readable Web have important implications for representation, voice, and ultimately power in cities, and we need to ensure that we aren't seduced into codifying, categorizing, and structuring in cases when ambiguity, not certainty, reigns. _______________________________________________ Wikimedia-l mailing list, guidelines at: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Mailing_lists/Guidelines Wikimediafirstname.lastname@example.org Unsubscribe: https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikimedia-l, <mailto:wikimedia-l-requ...@lists.wikimedia.org?subject=unsubscribe>