Study Revealed Google Adverts Are RacistAccording to a Harvard professor, some of Google’s adverts discriminate, as they link “racially associated” names to a possible criminal background.
The study was conducted by government and technology professor Latanya Sweeney, who looked at around 2,200 full names on Google and Reuters.com, both of them using Google AdWords advertisements. The study revealed that names associated with black people were more likely to show advertisements suggesting arrest, contrary to “white identifying” names.
For example, such names as DeShawn, Darnell and Jermaine, which are associated with black people, netted criminal ads in 81% to 86% of searches on Google, and up to 95% on Reuters.com.
At the same time, Geoffrey, Jill and Emma, who are more typically associated with white people, only resulted in 23% to 29% of such ads on the first website and 0% to 60% on the other, according to Sweeney’s study. Indeed, if you search “Latonya Evans”, you are more likely to find “Latonya Evans, Arrested?”, though the name Laurie Ryan would result in “Background of Laurie Ryan”.
The search giant denied that it conducted racial profiling in AdWords. The company explained that it had a policy forbidding advertisements which advocate against any organization, person or group of people. In fact, it’s up to individual advertisers to decide which keywords they want to choose to trigger their adverts. However, Latanya Sweeney
claims that more research is needed. She also suggests possible blame on the search engine’s algorithms and financial interests with advertisers.