Google’s Algorithmic Bias (Week 10 Final Post)

For my final post in week 10, I chose to look up images of cyber bullying victims using Google Images. The demographics are as follows:

-Of the top 30 search results, 23 were of a similar demographic. These 23 images all depicted girls, somewhere in their early to late teenage years, and usually Caucasian. The image below is a common result.



Upon further research, these demographics are at least partially accurate. Teens are, by far, the most likely demographic age group to experience cyber bullying. In addition to this, girls tend to be victims more often than boys. However, it should be noted in the results that cyber bullying affects all races, not just Caucasians.

The Business of Social Media

The first article I read discussed the differences between internal and external rewards, otherwise known as intrinsic or extrinsic rewards. Internal rewards are basically things like a feeling of satisfaction or accomplishment that can be achieved when someone works towards a goal. External rewards address things like money or other physical objects someone can attain for completing a task. Between the two, those who were surveyed seemed to respond more towards external rewards.

Honestly, I wasn’t really surprised by this. I think that people are more easily motivated by physical things because it can be seen by others as proof that you accomplished something worthwhile. While receiving payment in forms like money can be rewarding in of itself, the added benefit of possible envy from others is pretty enticing too.

The second article I read talked about the topic of privacy in an online space or domain. It went into detail about how popular sites such as Google and Facebook are making billions every year on consumer data and content. This cuts two ways essentially. First and foremost, people are often offended that these companies are selling their private information for money. But an often overlooked fact is that these sites are free to use in just about every way, and that selling information can be seen as a way for these companies to make a profit for their work.

Personally, I feel that what an individual searches and posts should be private. These companies are huge and have many other ways to make revenue at their disposal. I don’t think that its right that they make the majority of their profit off the selling of private information.

The third and final article that I read discussed the issue that is prevalent in Google’s search engine, in which it shows ads for high paying jobs more to men than to women. Google uses behavior tracking software to pick ads that might be more personalized to the consumer, which is usually a very helpful tool. But when presumes some men to be job seekers that are qualified for these positions and some women not to be, it becomes sexist.

I understand that its only the way that the software works, but instances like this are unacceptable. I think that the software or programming need to stop taking gender into account, so that all ads presented to a consumer may be unbiased.

Script Additions

In the time since I’ve turned in my first draft, I’ve made a couple changes to my project. First and foremost, I’ve decided to take a new stance on my project in general. While I had initially tried to look at the project from the stance and viewpoint of the victims of cyberbullying, I realized that the stance was risky and could possibly be mistaken for victim blaming. To avoid this, I decided to look at it purely from the standpoint of the bullies themselves, which is a much simpler way to view things.

I also added more detail to the content of the project and worked out more of my argument.

Online Afterlife

Personally, I believe that once a person has passed away, their online life should go with them as well. That doesn’t necessarily mean that any of their social media accounts have to be deleted. I just feel that the accounts should no longer be used to post things. If a person’s family or loved ones wish to keep their accounts active as a form of memorial or remembrance then I guess I can understand that. Mainly I feel like hackers taking over a deceased person’s account should be avoided at all costs simply because it is disrespectful to both the deceased and the deceased person’s family.

Personal and Professional Identities

Personally, I believe that the only social media account that I own that I would be comfortable sharing with a perspective employer would be my Facebook account. It seems weird to write but I believe that the way I present myself on Facebook is more professional than my Twitter account, for instance. I think it has to do with the fact that my family is much more active on Facebook, so it forces me to think twice about what I post compared to what I tweet.