If you search for “three Black teenagers” in Google, the algorithm offers an array of mug shots. But if you search for “three White teenagers,” well, an assortment of images of smiling White girls and boys pops up.
The awareness comes after Kabir Alli, 18, a senior at Clover Hill High School, in Midlothian, Virginia, recorded the disparity and posted the video to Twitter, reports the Washington Post:
The result was a swift and massive viral response, and his video was shared more than 65,000 times. (Similar observations had been made before, by YouTube videographers and others, but had not quite so deeply lodged in the Internet’s consciousness.)
Before he made the video, friends told Alli about what the Google search would pull up. But the teenager says watching it happen in person was still a surprise. “I didn’t think it would actually be true,” Alli said in an interview with USA Today. “When I saw the results I was nothing short of shocked.”
Google responded that its search algorithm mirrors the availability and frequency of online content. “This means that sometimes unpleasant portrayals of sensitive subject matter online can affect what image search results appear for a given query,” the company said in a statement to the Huffington Post UK. “These results don’t reflect Google’s own opinions or beliefs — as a company, we strongly value a diversity of perspectives, ideas and cultures.”
What do you think about Google’s explanation? Sound off in comments.
SOURCE: Washington Post | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty | VIDEO CREDIT: Twitter