December 2, 2020
LinkedIn search results

LinkedIn Search Engine Results Suggest Gender Bias

LinkedIn search results suggest a gender bias on the world’s most recognizable and used professional networking connection platform…

LinkedIn search results suggest a gender bias is present on the world’s most used career and business networking site. The company states its search results are automatically generated, based on analysis of past queries. “It’s all based on how people are using the platform,” spokeswoman Suzi Owens explains.

But generic name searches reveal different results. For instance, a search conducted for “Stephanie Williams” returns “Stephen Williams” as the top suggestion. This result includes more than 2,500 users sharing the same name or variations of “Stephanie Williams.”

LinkedIn Search Engine Results Suggest Gender Bias

New Zealand publication Stuff first reported this phenomenon recently. In addition, searches for dozens of female names return similar results. However, when users search for male names, no female name suggestions appear. (This is true in the case of at least 100 common male names.)

The professional networking site does not require new registering users to choose their gender. Furthermore, the professional social platform attempts to avoid tagging users by assumed gender or group. The company states it is actively experimenting with effective ways to improve its proprietary predictive technology.

This revelation comes at a time when bots and artificial intelligence produce less-than-perfect or completely inaccurate results. For instance, Facebook’s Trending topics is largely automated. The company recently removed most of its human editorial team. In their absence, the A.I. software assigned to identify trending stories promoted a fake news item. Critics of machine-learning algorithms cite such examples about the limitations of software.

Currently, LinkedIn is in an acquisition deal with software giant Microsoft for $26.2 billion. It’s estimated the professional networking site has 450 million users worldwide.

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