Bias on the Web

As any attempt to be unbiased might already be biased through our own cultural and cognitive biases, the first step is thus to be aware of bias.

Communications of the ACM, June 2018, Vol. 61 No. 6, Pages 54-61
Contributed articles: “Bias on the Web
By Ricardo Baeza-Yates

Our inherent human tendency of favoring one thing or opinion over another is reflected in every aspect of our lives, creating both latent and overt biases toward everything we see, hear, and do. Any remedy for bias must start with awareness that bias exists; for example, most mature societies raise awareness of social bias through affirmative-action programs, and, while awareness alone does not completely alleviate the problem, it helps guide us toward a solution. Bias on the Web reflects both societal and internal biases within ourselves, emerging in subtler ways. This article aims to increase awareness of the potential effects imposed on us all through bias present in Web use and content. We must thus consider and account for it in the design of Web systems that truly address people's needs.


Table. Possible classification of biases whereby the cultural and cognitive columns are user-dependent.


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