Gender Stereotyping and Sexism in Google AutoComplete

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Some truly horrifying ads are running thanks to the UN Women, a three year old organization with the goal to achieve gender equality around the world.
The ads feature such autocomplete results as “women shouldn’t go to college,” “women need to shut up” and “women should not speak in church.”

Google’s autocomplete algorithm is built to provide neutral results based on popularity of search terms. It ends up being a reflection of society at large (or at least society with access to the Internet and uses Google for searching). If that’s the case, then we are really really bad off.

I did a couple of searches myself to see what would come up for me today and the results were very disappointing. Granted, if I tweaked the phrase a bit I could come up with some mildly less disheartening results but not much better.

Obviously, we have some work to do to turn this ship around.