Google Shows You Ads for Better Jobs if it Thinks You're a Dude

By Kate Knibbs on at

Google and Facebook make a ton of cash building profiles on you to help advertisers figure out what to show you. New research shows that you’re better off if Google thinks you’re a guy as it builds its advertising-catnip profiles.

Carnegie Mellon and the International Computer Science Institute built a tool called AdFisher to examine how Google’s targeted ad system works. MIT’s Technology Review wrote about how the research found that the ad targeting was discriminatory. You’ll have more luck on a job hunt if Google and its ad partners thinks you’re a man:

They found that fake Web users believed by Google to be male job seekers were much more likely than equivalent female jobseekers to be shown a pair of ads for high paying executive jobs when they later visited a news website.

Well, that sucks. “What exactly caused those specific patterns is unclear, because Google’s ad-serving system is very complex,” Technology Review noted unhelpfully.

The reasoning for the discrepancy isn’t explicit. But I’m going to take a wild guess and say that it’s not a simple coincidence that advertisers are targeting equally qualified men over women for absolutely no reason at all.

[Technology Review]