Eight years ago, as Safiya Umoja Noble was entertaining her nieces, she had a horrible revelation. Noble, now a professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications, googled the phrase “Black girls” looking for useful ideas. She instead found a page full of pornography.
Disturbed that the world’s most popular search engine could create such a distorted view of Black women and girls, Noble spent the next several years tracing the consequences of algorithmic learning for marginalized people. The result is her new book, “Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism,” which contests the largely unchallenged assumption that Google treats every group equally.
She argues that imbalances in the material world contribute to similar injustices online. For example, she notes that the neo-Nazi group Stormfront controlled the domain “martinlutherking.org” for years and was able to spread misinformation from near the top of the Google search pile.
[For more on this story by Tanner Howard, go to https://www.colorlines.com/art...-arent-created-equal]