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Online search ads expose racial bias: Study

Published on Feb 5, 2013 6:45 AM
 

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - Ads pegged to Google search results can be racially biased because of how certain names are associated with blacks or whites, according to a new study.

Harvard University professor Latanya Sweeney found "statistically significant discrimination" when comparing ads served with results from online searches made using names associated with blacks and those with whites.

The study contrasted online searches using names such as "Ebony" and "DeShawn", with those such as "Jill" and "Geoffrey".

Ads posted alongside search results for names likely to belong to blacks tended to suggest criminal activity with offers along the lines of background checks for arrests, according to the study.

 
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