Algorithmic Bias in Search and Research

May 8, 2018

As part of the Designing for Digital Literacy Series co-presented by the AIS, the Library, and the College Writing Program, a group of instructors, staff and librarians gathered on April 18, 2018 to discuss the implications of algorithmic bias for student research and learning.

Librarian Cody Hennesy kicked off the conversation by outlining Safiya Noble’s research on how popular platforms such as Google and Facebook engage in technological redlining. Noble documents, for example, how keywords related to girls and women of color (“black girls,” “asian girls”) routinely return pornographic search results on Google. Noble uses these and other examples to vividly challenge the common conception of search engine results as “neutral,” to underscore the profit motive of commercial entities like Google, and to point out the disparate harm these practices can have on marginalized groups.

Safiya Noble | Challenging the Algorithms of Oppression