Thursday, August 2, 2018

Google search and racism research

Researcher Safiya Noble thinks that prominent commercial internet search engines reinforce racism and sexism—and that there are major implications for K-12 educators and students.
Noble undertook the research behind the book back in 2011, after a Google query for "black girls" yielded a stream of pornographic and offensive search results. Noble says those "hits" weren't an accidental byproduct of neutral algorithms driving Google's search engine. Instead, she argues, they reflect the human biases inherent in the engineers who created the algorithms, structural biases rooted in the underlying classification systems and web architecture upon which commercial search engines are built, and an advertising-based business model that accepts the reality that racist and sexist representations of women and people of color are often still quite profitable.
Noble, S. (2018) Algorithms of oppression: How search engines reinforce racism. New York, NY: NYU Press. Discussion at

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