They don’t understand how search engines work, do they?

To mark International Women’s Day, the LTA called on organisations including Google to boost the visibility of women’s sport by removing inherent gender bias that exists in search engine algorithms for results about sport. “Greater visibility is crucial for women’s tennis and for women’s sport in general in terms of building the perception of sport as being something for women, and in turn leading to greater participation,” LTA COO Julie Porter said.

“We’ve seen recently that the women’s finals at Grand Slams have attracted more television viewers than the men’s finals, but that visibility is not yet reflected in the balance of what people see when they search. It is genuinely shocking to see how dominated these results are by male-specific information. While gender parity in search is an issue that reaches far beyond just sport, if it is like this for a leading women’s sport like tennis then it demonstrates just how important it is that this issue is addressed.”

The algos are trained by what folk look at, what is clicked etc. It’s us out here directing that male bias in the results, not Google.

24 thoughts on “They don’t understand how search engines work, do they?”

  1. In one Google search for ‘best tennis players in the world’, 98 per cent of the top 51 results in the ‘athlete carousel’, images at the top of the results, were male

    Because it’s literally true that 98% of the world’s best tennis players are male. That’s why woman have their own tournaments.

    Any activity prefixed with “women’s” is a consolation event, with women’s sport being on a par with the Special Olympics.

    Let ’em play if it makes them happy, but don’t expect people to watch or take it seriously.

  2. “We’ve seen recently that the women’s finals at Grand Slams have attracted more television viewers than the men’s finals…”

    Is there a new Kournikova on the circuit?

  3. “I have a suspicion that Ladies Beach Volleyball is an exception …”

    I retained a soft spot for L!VE TV’s Topless Darts.

  4. Who at Google would be foolish enough to leave their fingerprints on the requested action given what happened in the Libor fixing case?

  5. Google used to be good, but it’s pretty obvious now that they diddle the search results to prioritise whatever the Cause du Jour is.
    It’s clear that the politicians are happy with this as no-one seems to want to take a close look at their activities, as long as it’s the right (literally) people who are cancelled.

  6. The algos are trained by what folk look at, what is clicked etc.

    With heavy advertising and political activism thumbs on the scale.

    Unless you think that what folk click on when image searching for “happy white woman” is lots of pictures of white women with black men and black babies. Yes, still, after all this time and negative publicity.

  7. Is there a new Kournikova on the circuit?

    No, merely the first British female Grand Slam winner for a generation so hardly surprising if UK viewership reflected it.

    That’s assuming the article referred to the UK rather than the domestic TV market in which case the high viewing figures for the Aussie ladies final are even easier to explain.

    In either case I have zero doubt the 5-year averages tell a very different story.

  8. What’s needed is a trans woman tennis player. “She” would beat all the women and destroy ratings at the same time, causing left/liberal heads to rattle with dissonance.

    BTW, how were the ratings during the chunky Williams gals era?

  9. I work in paid search advertising and unfortunately, at least to some extent, this isn’t completely out of the wheelhouse for Google and many other search engines.

    Yes, they have an algorithm…an algorithm that is both designed and regularly tweaked by humans.

    The clearest demonstration of this is organic results for any kind of news media. If you search for anything involving a conservative politician or an issue important to a right-leaning crowd, you will see that the first 3-5 pages (at least) of search results are all left-leaning sources that either ridicule or mock that topic. In order to get anything from the opposing view, you will have to look through page after page before you get an article from Tim Worstall, or Forbes, or Wall Street Journal.

    For instance, if I want to learn about Brexit, I will type in “Brexit” and what I *should* get is a mixture of different views on the issue, while also taking into account the popularity of certain articles. It’s a combination of relevancy and the likelihood that I’m clicking on what I’m looking for. This is determine through quality score (QS), which measures everything from number of users clicking on the link, how long users spend on that URL (aka, “landing page”) and other factors. If there’s a high rate of users clicking on a link, and then “bouncing” off of it a few seconds later, Google determines it’s an irrelevant or even fraudulent result.

    What *actually* happens most of the time, is you will get a whole slew of news articles from The Guardian, New York Times, Salon, HuffPo, BBC, plus a bunch of YouTube videos from these sources, plus all the propaganda videos of “far-right” activists waving swastikas at pro-Brexit rallies. Then, on page 8 or so, you’ll find a more balanced or reasoned analysis of the subject. That’s because Google no longer just gives the users what they’re looking for. They give the users what Google and the elitists of the New World Order think users *should* be looking for. They are clearly manipulating the algorithm toward a leftist bias.

    Paid search results (aka, ads) are a little different, since Google also takes your CPC bids and ad copy messaging into account, but their QS is measured much the same way.

    I’m not exactly sure when this started (probably during Obama’s tenure, when “hate speech” became a thing; and definitely by the time Trump was elected), but Google and most of the other search-related platforms (Bing, YouTube, Yahoo) are no longer search engines. They’re search curators.

    That said, removing gender bias from the SERP (search engine results page), while par for the course at this point, would take a ridiculous amount of unnecessary time and effort. And of course, there’s no measurable way to deem a search engine “bias free.” All depends on which clipboard-toting busybodies you’re talking to.

    And don’t even get me started on the advertiser blacklists.

  10. If you search for anything involving a conservative politician or an issue important to a right-leaning crowd . . .

    E.g. Lauren Southern. Google search for her tops with the Wikipedia page, not just a link but displaying partial content – which claims she is an alt-right political activist and white nationalist. Not only is neither factually true, they are outrageous slanders. But, of course, Wikipedia can’t be sued (thus neither can Google) as it is merely displaying user content (and she’s a public figure).

    The fix is in.

  11. Theophrastus (2066)

    Put ‘happy white woman’ into Duckduckgo and you get white women plus a few pale-skinned women of part-Asian origin, but not a single negro. Compare and contrast Google.

  12. @ Chris Miller

    I’ve only tried DuckDuckGo a few times, since few ad agencies even acknowledge its existence, but from what I hear it’s gotten to be a pretty useful search engine. I’m willing to bet it’s at least a little different from Google, and doesn’t have the resources to waste time on frivolous woke-ification, even if they wanted to.

    That said, I think DuckDuckGo’s main selling point was that it doesn’t track users and/or sell user data. I don’t think they were too concerned about politicization one way or the other, but conservatives have been supportive of anything that disrupts the Establishment, and even Jack Dorsey endorses DDG. Also works out well for Google, who cited DDG as a competitor to prove they aren’t a monopoly.

    I think disrupting social media might be a more effective strategy. It’s easier to dominate that space than search engines (Google controls like 90% of that space, last time I checked). You could say that YouTube (a Google property) operates somewhat like a social platform, but we now have Rumble starting to creep up, and I’ve found it to be about as user friendly.

    If you dominate social media, you dominate where people are sharing and linking to websites/articles. That affects Google results and also takes eyeballs away from their SERP. It’s certainly possible to defeat Google over time, but that could take at least a decade. Either way, there will be a day of reckoning for media manipulators. It’s a matter of when and how, not if.

  13. @ PJF

    Wait until you see how manufactured and false the demonization of the Proud Boys is.

    Also, in the U.S., every single sizable ad agency blacklists Breitbart (that’s the go-to straw man for “unacceptable” ad placements) but feels fine advertising on Huffington Post. The only right-leaning sites they’ll accept are Fox News, Wall Street Journal and Forbes. That’s better than nothing, but compare that with the websites that get a pass, like Salon or The Atlantic. Anything to the right of Mitt Romney is reprehensible, but no problem with articles humanizing paedophiles.

    Even then, one agency I worked at sent out an office-wide email asking if we should cut off Fox News, because Bill O’Reilly was in the middle of a harassment scandal at the time. There was no such conversation about ABC News when Matt Lauer resigned for the exact same reason.

    To say that marketers in big cities are in a bubble is an understatement.

  14. @ PJF

    Regarding your example of Lauren Southern’s Wikipedia page…

    Apart from Google’s own algorithm, this is also yet another example of the Establishment propping up the Establishment. The “trusted” sources are those with CEOs that belong to the same country clubs as the other elitists. Whether that’s Wikipedia, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, the federal government (if a Democrat is in office, that is), Clinton Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, etc., the powers that be put social clout over substance. This also applies to the “hate speech” policies. SPLC, ADL, GLAAD, BLM and other such organizations all have partnerships with the aforementioned entities, and these are the *only* advocacy groups one is allowed to consult with on such matters to control search results and user access. In fact, look at the sources Wikipedia allowed to be used in the “References” section. One of Southern’s biggest gigs was reporting for Rebel Media. See any citations coming from Rebel? Nope, only articles from liberal third-party sources that bash Rebel.

    You may not have heard about this, but Amazon had a partnership with BLM as part of their AmazonSmile charity. They only recently cut ties with BLM, not because of their violence, hateful mission statement or their bailing out of murderers, but because they have questionable finances.

    It would’ve been nice if only a few companies latched onto these bandwagons, and only for a short period of time. Unfortunately, it’s going to keep snowballing until it reaches critical mass, and some major institutions are going to collapse when enough people get fed up with their bullshit. Might take many years, but possibly within our lifetimes.

  15. Whenever you hear a woman claim she’s oppressed by the “patriarchy,” ask her if that’s something a strong, independent person would say.

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