June 18, 2014 1:48 pm

Google’s Brazilian favela doodle garners controversy online

Google's World Cup themed doodle has offended some users.

Screenshot/Google

TORONTO – Wednesday’s World Cup Google doodle has stirred controversy amongst users who feel that it was distasteful for the Internet giant to use a favela – a term for slum in Brazil – as a symbol of the games.

Google has been featuring a new World Cup-related doodle each day since the start of the tournament.

Wednesday’s doodle appears to depict the traditionally colourful buildings of a favela – the “L” in Google is kicking a soccer ball against the wall.

Users began expressing concerns about the doodle Wednesday on Twitter, some calling it “poor taste” and others arguing that slums should not be used to celebrate the World Cup.

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Favelas were first built in Brazil in the late 19th century and became more popular as Brazilians moved from rural areas to cities starting in the 1970s.

Those who live in the slums live in poverty, lack access to public services and are affected by high crime levels.

In 2010, about six per cent of the Brazilian population lived in one of these slums, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics.

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However, some users jumped to Google’s defence, saying that soccer has long been a large part of the community in favelas.

One Twitter user wrote, “Ignoring Rio’s favelas and popularity of soccer there is what would be super offensive.”

According to Google’s doodle archives, the doodle was inspired by a sketch of the favelas by artist Matt Cruickshank.

© Shaw media, 2014

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