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Google slammed over ‘racist’ results for ‘unprofessional hair’

Google is under fire over what some Twitter users are calling ‘racist’ search results.

Twitter user @BonKamona posted a tweet that showed the Google search results for both ‘unprofessional hair’ and ‘professional hair, which has since been retweeted over 10,000 times.

Take a look:

https://twitter.com/statuses/717457819864272896

The tweet revealed that searching ‘unprofessional hair’ pulls up images of black women almost exclusively, while searching ‘professional hair’ is populated equally exclusively by white women.

Here are the results for ‘unprofessional hair’ at the time of writing:

hair

By contrast, here are the results for ‘professional hair’ at the time of writing:

hair

And here are the results for ‘professional hair for work’ at the time of writing:

hair 04

Unsurprisingly, Twitter users were quick to lambast Google over its purportedly ‘racist’ search results:

https://twitter.com/statuses/717468897310609409

https://twitter.com/statuses/717705608397504512

https://twitter.com/statuses/717567398379962369

https://twitter.com/statuses/717534135749771264

https://twitter.com/statuses/717533045817913344

However, some users soon pointed out that Google was simply picking up articles that discussed how unfair it was for traditionally non-white hairstyles weren’t seen to be appropriate for work.

https://twitter.com/statuses/718148077929029633

https://twitter.com/statuses/717671403890184192

https://twitter.com/statuses/717781561609953281


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In response to the furore, Google told Metro: “This is fundamentally a societal problem – there are persistent and problematic biases, and they’re quite pervasive in the media, on the web, etc. – meta-tagging their images with their own descriptions.”

“Search engines in turn reflect what’s on the web. This is not unique to our search engine; Yahoo! And Bing show similar results,” the spokesperson continued. “We welcome feedback and we’re always working to improve our search results. As a company we strongly value a diversity of perspectives, ideas and cultures – these search results do not reflect Google’s view on the matter.”

What do you think about the search results? Let us know in the comments.

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