Safiya Umoja Noble-Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

Safiya Umoja Noble

Bio

Safiya Umoja Noble is an Associate Professor at UCLA in the Departments of Information Studies and African American Studies. Noble is the recipient of a Hellman Fellowship and the UCLA Early Career Award. Her academic research focuses on the design of digital media platforms on the internet and their impact on society. She is regularly quoted for her expertise on issues of algorithmic discrimination and technology bias by national and international press. She holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Library & Information Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a B.A. in Sociology from California State University, Fresno where she was recently awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award for 2018.

Sessions

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

In Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search engines like Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities. Data discrimination is a real social problem; Noble argues that the combination of private interests in promoting certain sites, along with the monopoly status of a relatively small number of Internet search engines, leads to a biased set of search algorithms that privilege whiteness and discriminate against people of color, specifically women of color.

Interviewer: Andre Jackson

Andre Jackson is editorial editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where he oversees the newspaper’s thought leadership expressed via its Sunday editorial page and daily opinion pages. Previously, Jackson was senior editor for business, federal, and state news. He joined the AJC in 2008 as an editorial writer covering business and the economy. Jackson holds an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a bachelor’s degree in mass communications/journalism from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville.

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Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism

In Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, Safiya Umoja Noble challenges the idea that search engines like Google offer an equal playing field for all forms of ideas, identities, and activities. Data discrimination is a real social problem; Noble argues that the combination of private interests in promoting certain sites, along with the monopoly status of a relatively small number of Internet search engines, leads to a biased set of search algorithms that privilege whiteness and discriminate against people of color, specifically women of color. Through an analysis of textual and media searches as well as extensive research on paid online advertising, Noble exposes a culture of racism and sexism in the way discoverability is created online. An original, surprising and, at times, disturbing account of bias on the internet, Algorithms of Oppression contributes to our understanding of how racism is created, maintained, and disseminated in the 21st century.

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