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Racism In Online Ad Targeting 474

Posted by Soulskill
from the perhaps-profiling-is-a-better-name dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Most of us are familiar with advertisements in online web searching, and by now we've grown accustomed to scrolling past the 'sponsored' results to get to the real responses to our query. And we know the ads are context-sensitive; for example, searching for our favorite Federation Starship will bring up ads for a similarly-named car-rental agency. But now a Harvard University professor has found a more disturbing trend in those contextual ads: racism. 'Sweeney says she has evidence that black identifying names are up to 25 per cent more likely to be served with an arrest-related ad. "There is discrimination in delivery of these ads," she concludes. Sweeney gathered this evidence by collecting over 2000 names that were suggestive of race. For example, first names such as Trevon, Lakisha and Darnell suggest the owner is black while names like Laurie, Brendan and Katie suggest the owner is white. She then entered these plus surnames into Google.com and Reuters.com and examined the ads they returned. Most names generated ads for public records. However, black-identifying names turned out to be much more likely than white-identifying names to generate ads that including the word "arrest" (60 per cent versus 48 per cent).'"
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Racism In Online Ad Targeting

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  • by Lord Apathy (584315) on Monday February 04, 2013 @05:18PM (#42790265)

    What I always find amazing is we like to point fingers at results and scream racism. How about we look at what caused the statiscs to be that way in the first place?

    How about this for some hard core news? Black males between the ages of 13 and 30 commit more crimes per race than any other race. 1/3 of black males in that age group are ether, in prison, on parol, or waiting to be tried for something.

    How about we stop bitch'n about the satistics and screaming racism about every little thing? Why don't we take our heads out of the sand and start looking at the real god damn problem and trying to fix it? No, its far easier to scream racism than to fix the god damn problem.

  • The NERVE! (Score:5, Informative)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Monday February 04, 2013 @05:52PM (#42790741)

    What's next? Serving up maxi-pad ads to female names?

    I'm calling my congressperson.

  • by dbet (1607261) on Monday February 04, 2013 @06:00PM (#42790853)
    Uh, no. Race exists in all species, it is a subdivision of that species, just like species is a subdivision of a genus. In dogs we call them breeds. Where the boundaries lie between races is somewhat arbitrary. Between these groups, physical and biological differences are the rule, not the exception. If it helps you to call them "ethnicities", go right ahead, because those differences are smaller but still exist.

    This doesn't mean an individual is defined by his or her race, only that they tend toward different means than those of other races. Nor does it excuse discrimination under the law, or treating members of some races poorly simply because they're a member of that race.

    This is scientific, biological reality. Even if all the races died except for one, in 50,000 years there would be multiple races again, provided different populations were allowed to separate entirely for a while.
  • by oic0 (1864384) on Monday February 04, 2013 @07:03PM (#42791653)
    Arrests are debatable like you said, police bias. Murder rates however are not. there is a corpse to show for it. The murder rate difference is MASSIVE, and I mean massive. Exponential. All the talk of gun violence in the US usually leaves out that fact when comparing us to other countries. For instance, our white murder rate is very close to that of most European countries with gun bans. One race is a bit of a ringer and throws our stats way off by being 13% of the population but accounting for over 50% of murder.

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