Google Shows You Ads for Better Jobs If It Thinks You're a Dude

Illustration for article titled Google Shows You Ads for Better Jobs If It Thinks Youre a Dude

Google and Facebook make a ton of dough building profiles on you to help advertisers figure out what to show you. New research shows that you’re better off if Google thinks you’re a guy as it builds its advertising-catnip profiles.


Carnegie Mellon and the International Computer Science Institute built a tool called AdFisher to examine how Google’s targeted ad system works. MIT’s Technology Review wrote about how the research found that the ad targeting was discriminatory. You’ll have more luck on a job hunt if Google and its ad partners thinks you’re a man:

They found that fake Web users believed by Google to be male job seekers were much more likely than equivalent female jobseekers to be shown a pair of ads for high paying executive jobs when they later visited a news website.


Well, that sucks. “What exactly caused those specific patterns is unclear, because Google’s ad-serving system is very complex,” Technology Review noted unhelpfully.

The reasoning for the discrepancy isn’t explicit. But I’m gonna take a WILD guess and say that it’s not a simple coincidence that advertisers are targeting equally qualified men over women for absolutely no reason at all.

[Technology Review]

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Is it possible that in all the complexities of the algorithm used that somehow this just happened as opposed to someone purposefully setting it up so men get better jobs shown? For example because society is sexist, men on average occupy the higher paying jobs and get paid more than women for doing the same jobs. Pulling in all that data google might thing that, that happens because that is how we want it to be and then does its best to continue this “trend” and show men higher paying jobs. Alternatively someone could have programmed it to show women lower paying jobs because that person was sexist.