Algorithms of Oppression

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Algorithms of Oppression
Algorithms of Oppression.jpg
AuthorSafiya Noble
CountryUnited States
SubjectRacism, algorithms
PublishedFebruary 2018
PublisherNYU Press
Pages256 pp
ISBN978-1-4798-4994-9 (Hardcover)

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism is a 2018 book by Safiya Noble in the fields of information science, machine learning, and human-computer interaction.[1][2][3][4]


Algorithms of Oppression is a text based on over six years of academic research on Google search algorithms. Noble argues that search algorithms become racist because they reflect the biases and values of the people who create them[5].[6][7] These algorithms can then have negative biases against women of color and other marginalized populations, while also affecting Internet users in general by leading to "racial and gender profiling, misrepresentation, and even economic redlining".[8]

Critical reception[edit]

Critical reception for Algorithms of Oppression has been largely positive. In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Emily Drabinski writes, "What emerges from these pages is the sense that Google’s algorithms of oppression comprise just one of the hidden infrastructures that govern our daily lives, and that the others are likely just as hard-coded with white supremacy and misogyny as the one that Noble explores."[9] In PopMatters, Hans Rollman describes writes that Algorithms of Oppression "demonstrate[s] that search engines, and in particular Google, are not simply imperfect machines, but systems designed by humans in ways that replicate the power structures of the western countries where they are built, complete with all the sexism and racism that are built into those structures."[1] In Booklist, reviewer Lesley Williams states, "Noble’s study should prompt some soul-searching about our reliance on commercial search engines and about digital social equity."[10]

In early February 2018, Algorithms of Oppression received press attention when the official Twitter account for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers expressed criticism of the book, citing that the thesis of the text, based on the text of the book's official blurb on commercial sites, could not be reproduced. IEEE's outreach historian, Alexander Magoun, later revealed that he had not read the book, and issued an apology.[6]


  1. ^ a b "Don't Google It! How Search Engines Reinforce Racism". PopMatters. 2018-01-30. Retrieved 2018-03-24.
  2. ^ "Coded prejudice: how algorithms fuel injustice". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  3. ^ "Opinion | Noah Berlatsky: How search algorithms reinforce racism and sexism". NBC News. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  4. ^ "How search engines are making us more racist". Vox. Retrieved 2018-05-10.
  5. ^ "Search results reflects the values and norms of the search companies commercial partners and advertisers and often reflect our lowest and most demeaning beliefs, because these ideas circulate so freely and so often that they are normalized and extremely profitable." (Nobel, 36)
  6. ^ a b "Scholar sets off Twitter furor by critiquing a book he hasn't read". Retrieved 2018-02-08.
  7. ^ "Can an algorithm be racist? Spotting systemic oppression in the age of Google". Digital Trends. 2018-03-03. Retrieved 2018-03-24.
  8. ^ ALGORITHMS OF OPPRESSION by Safiya Umoja Noble | Kirkus Reviews.
  9. ^ "Ideologies of Boring Things: The Internet and Infrastructures of Race - Los Angeles Review of Books". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved 2018-03-24.
  10. ^ Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, by Safiya Umoja Noble | Booklist Online.

External links[edit]