Google search conflates 'black girls' with pornography 

Occurred: 2012

The top search returns for the phrase 'Black girls' on Google link to sexist and racist websites, including highly explicit pornography, according to a prominent US academic Safiya Noble.

From 2010, US academic Safiya Noble conducted a series of experiments that revealed that Google searches on Black girls, Latina girls, Asian girls returned pornography, hypersexualized content, and other inappropriate links. Conversely, search returns for 'white girls' were much less controversial. 

Noble surmised that search algorithms reflect the racist and sexist biases of their designers, developers, and operators. She also contended that they are reluctant to acknowledge the problem or update their algorithms in a meaningful manner lest it disrupts the advertising revenue generated alongside the search returns, instead preferring to hide behind their opaque 'black box' algorithmic systems.

The findings were also featured in Noble's 2018 book Algorithms of Oppression

Operator: Alphabet/Google
Developer: Alphabet/Google
Country: USA
Sector: Media/entertainment/sports/arts
Purpose: Rank search results
Technology: Search engine algorithm; Machine learning
Issue: Bias/discrimination - race, ethnicity, gender
Transparency: Governance; Black box