Misleading Google Search Results Plague MOCA LA

The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

We often think of Google as an all-knowing source of useful and correct information, but what happens when the king of all search engines is wrong? As employees and patrons of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) have learned, it happens. Thanks to Google’s “knowledge panel,” placed on the right side of the search results screen, false information about MOCA’s hours of operation has left several museum-goers in a lurch. This is due to the fact that the data provided in the panel is the outcome of algorithms that comb through vast troves of online information automatically. While most of the time the resulting information is correct, it seems even algorithms make mistakes.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Google believes the museum to be open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which it is not. A Beverly Hills native named David Fink learned this the hard way when he attempted to go see the current Mike Kelley exhibition on a Tuesday afternoon. Google told him the hours were 11 a.m–5 p.m, but he arrived to find closed doors. Incensed, he called up the institution, which is well aware of the problem, having received multiple complaints from art lovers who have traveled much further distances than Fink. Unfortunately, due to the fact that the information is controlled by an algorithm rather than a person, fixing the problem is harder than you would think. MOCA spokeswoman Eva Seta told the LA Times on Thursday, “We are actively working with Google to fix this problem…After multiple attempts of trying to get the correct information up, we are promised that the errors will be fixed within the next 48 hours.”

A Google search for “MOCA hours Tuesday” reveals that the problem has not yet been remedied, but in the meantime, there’s something you can do. At the bottom right, below the panel, a link in small gray letters that says “feedback.” Clicking on it generates a link with the word “Wrong?” Click on this link, and up comes a box that asks for the correct information and for a URL where proof of the error and correct information can be found. Those people braving the LA traffic in the name of art on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon will thank you.

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