Study: Google searches reveal racial bias

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Google has been accused of racism since a study revealed the search engine’s 25-percent likelihood that names associated with black people will bring up advertisements related to criminality.

The study, conducted by Latanya Sweeney, tested online searches using names such as Ebony and DeShawn, and contrasted them with names such as Jill and Geoffrey, The Daily Mail reports.

She found that the names typically associated with black people were 25 percent more likely to bring up ads relating to background checks for arrests and criminal records. Names like Leroy, Kareem and Keisha would yield advertisements that read “Arrested?”, with a link to a website which could perform criminal record checks, BBC reports.

Google has said it “does not conduct any racial profiling,” according to BBC.

“It is up to individual advertisers to decide which keywords they want to choose to trigger their ads,” Google said.

The findings pose “questions as to whether Google’s advertising technology exposes racial bias in society and how ad and search technology can develop to assure racial fairness,” Professor Sweeney said in a blog post at

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