It turns out Google shows you better job ads if it thinks you're a man

Clara Guibourg
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How does Google's ad targeting work? (Source: Getty)

You’ll do better in your job hunt if Google believes you’re a man.

The search giant uses its vast amounts of data to figure out what advertisers should show you, and according to a new study, it'll show you ads for better jobs if Google thinks you’re a man.

Researchers from Carnegie Mellon university and the International Computer Science Institute investigated how Google’s ad targeting on third party websites worked, and discovered that the targeted ad system discriminates against women, showing them different job ads than men.

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.

Read more: Online giants to be hit as Google loses EU data case

Google's ad-serving system is pretty complex, but Anupam Datta, one of the researchers and an associate professor at Carnegie Mellon, told the MIT Technology Review that the research showed a need to uncover how advertising companies differentiate between people:

I think our findings suggest that there are parts of the ad ecosystem where kinds of discrimination are beginning to emerge and there is a lack of transparency.

A Google spokesperson commented on the study to City AM:

Advertisers can choose to target the audience they want to reach, and we have policies that guide the type of interest-based ads that are allowed. We provide transparency to users with 'Why This Ad' notices and Ad Settings, as well as the ability to opt out of interest-based ads.

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