Google has declared Vladimir Putin the winner of the 2018 Russian presidential election – despite it not being held until March.
The Russian-language section of the search giant returned a page showing a portrait of President Putin underneath the word ‘winner’ after users typed in ‘election 2018’.
The bizarre error – or joke – was discovered on Monday by amused web users in the country.
The Russian-language section of the search giant returned a page showing a portrait of President Putin underneath the word ‘winner’ after users typed in ‘election 2018’ recently
Too easy: President Putin (pictured) was declared the winner of the 2018 election by Google without having to wait for a single ballot to be cast
According to RBC, it was corrected within 20 minutes of being pointed out.
The election, which will be held on March 18, is widely expected to result in Putin’s fourth term.
He has ruled the country as president or prime minister since 2000.
The error is thought to have been caused by Google’s algorithm for generating answers to common questions.
Wikipedia or official websites that Google considers reliable are often automatically adapted to provide a brief explanation at the top of the results page.
But in this case, the Wikipedia article was not of the usual standard.
Stanislav Kozlovsky, director of Russian Wikimedia, said: ‘Someone added Putin’s name to the preamble of the article on the elections, after which the search engine indexed it and reflected the new variant in its results.’
The error is thought to have been caused by Google’s algorithm for generating answers to common questions
Apparently Wikipedia’s normal procedures for creating an article were not followed by the user who wrote the opening section of the election piece.
But whether it was an accident or intended as a joke, people mocked the error online.
According to Global Voices, One user wrote: ‘Using Google, the Americans have interfered in our elections, putting forth a candidate that will be favorable for them.’
Many also made comic references to Senator Alexey Pushkov, a figure famous in Russia for alleging foreign interference in the country.