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Don't Show High-Paying Job Ads to the Little Ladies

Posted on 7.06.2015

Anyone who has spent any time on the Web knows that their behaviors (ads clicked, websites visited, search results selected) affect their browsing experience, whether that's ads served to them in the search engine result pages (SERPs) or the products and promotions shown to them on an actual website.

New research from Carnegie Mellon University and the International Computer Science Institute, however, indicates that some results, particularly the ads on Google and Google ads across the Web, might be downright discriminatory, simply because a user indicates their gender. Using their self-built AdFisher tool (which can run browser-based experiments and analyze data using machine learning and significance tests), researchers found setting the gender to female (within Google's Ad Settings) resulted in getting fewer instances of an ad related to high paying jobs than setting it to male.

For advertisers, the implications of this research is that their ads are not being delivered to their whole target audience, but for the Web as a whole, it's just adding more fuel to the wage-gap fire.


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