- “BlackLivesMatter protest” by Victoria Pickering is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND
The Internet was originally created to create a community that was open and accessible to all. It was intended to make information more accessible to more people in a way that made it easier for them to get access to information. However, a lack of diversity has emerged as the Internet has evolved. This lack of diversity has limited innovation and content in Internet media platforms and has even led to the marginalization of some groups. This essay will analyze how racial inequalities cause this phenomenon and its harms and effects on society and individuals of the social structure. The article will explore this through economic, cultural, and political areas.
In the Economic aspect, some socio-economic disparities related to racial inequalities may limit access to the Internet. This digital divide disproportionately affects marginalized communities, hindering their participation in the online world and their access to education, the economy, and better access to society. Today, the Internet is central to economic and political activity in society. However, in the same economic conditions, because of racial inequality also led to the “digital divide” phenomenon, making access to the Internet unequal. Due to their more comprehensive access options, white students without a computer at home were far more likely to utilize the Internet elsewhere. For example, according to Castells (2002), some predominantly white schools had better computer labs. Adjusting for income and education level, African Americans and Hispanics became less likely to own a computer. Access to computers is also lower for African Americans and Hispanics, meaning less Internet access. The same problem is faced in some parts of Australia, where some low-income or indigenous people in remote areas do not have the Internet. For example, Ronnie is the only person in his town who has the internet. Inequalities in online platforms also affect economic opportunities for marginalized communities. In the case of digital platforms, it is common to face multilateral markets. There are two markets: users may post messages, and marketers can reach potential consumers with their advertising messages. In order to support its client services, the multisided digital platform’s function in data exchange is crucial(Mansell& Steinmueller,2020). However, online advertising can limit the growth of racial and ethnic minority-owned businesses. 53% of Latinx Americans and 66% of African Americans believe advertisements stereotype their racial groups. Even though 15% of people worldwide have a handicap, just 1% of advertisements include them. Online adverts on some social media platforms have discriminatory targeting options. Therefore, Advertisers can choose to exclude certain racial or ethnic groups from their adverts. This means that minority-owned businesses may have different opportunities to reach potential customers than other businesses. This also limits the limitations of multi-party digital platforms regarding data exchange. Inequalities resulting from social structures have led to the marginalization of groups, and racial inequalities have reinforced the formation of social divides. To conform to the choices of the Internet majority, some marginalized groups lose participation in the network and access to economic opportunities.
- “digital divide” by Oliver Lavery is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Algorithms on the Internet are biased, resulting in particular types of content and users being prioritized and limiting content visibility from different perspectives. It also exacerbates racial inequality online, leading to a lack of diversity. The TikTok algorithm prioritizes two key elements: engagement (this includes likes, shares, saves, and comments). The more arrangement a video has, the better chance it has of being shown—user interaction (audience attention and engagement may influence what is seen). However, TikTok’s algorithm reads through the audience’s preferences and directs them to one of its many “aspects.” This can make the culture presented on the internet incomplete, and what many people see may only be part of it. It can lead to stereotyping. For example, when people swipe videos on the Shakeology platform, they usually see things that they personally like and approve of, and the algorithms don’t recommend something to the audience that he doesn’t like. When a person has a particular bias towards a group, the algorithm will recommend the group they recognize rather than another population perspective. This can deepen the stereotypes that each different group has about each other’s identities and ideas, making breaking this stalemate more challenging. This is because people often swipe the same type of videos. When dealing with people of different identity classes, an information tool may be considered reasonably accurate for white women, but that does not necessarily mean it applies to black women.For example, in the US healthcare system. In 2019, researchers found that algorithms used by US hospitals to predict which patients need additional medical care largely favor white patients over black patients. Because healthcare costs emphasize an individual’s healthcare needs, the algorithm prioritizes a patient’s past healthcare spending. The algorithm has a significant role in influencing people’s attitudes and creating a peaceful online community. Because the algorithm reflects social worth in actuality (Noble, 2018), it is more than just data and a cognitive tool (Curtis, 2018). The lack of racial diversity in internet media platforms can exacerbate the stereotypes of marginalized groups in society, even spreading from internet platforms into people’s lives. This makes it harder for these groups to live as equals in society and more challenging for mainstream media to accept and recognize them. This induces even more severe racial and class discrimination.
- “AI Algorithms Bias Blackout Poem” by Kevin Hodgson is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
Policies on the regulation of the Internet play an essential role in the governance of different countries. Effective governance in terms of national policies inevitably leads to information blocking. Among these information controls are online racial inequalities. These inequalities often include hate speech, harassment, and cyberbullying. Through some effective information about minorities can be the target of racially motivated attacks. The critical difference between culture and technology companies in China and elsewhere is likely to be the intrusive role of the state and the ubiquity of government regulation and intervention in China’s social platforms(de Kloet, Poell, Guohua, & Yiu Fai, 2019). For example, on 24 August, Japan began releasing treated but still radioactive wastewater from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean. The Chinese Government strongly criticized this move and posted the news on major social media platforms. This led the Chinese masses to launch a verbal attack on the Japanese people and put two different races of people on completely opposite sides of the fence. The lack of diversity in how the Internet is regulated results in the public only being able to view information filtered by the Government and not being able to access multiple sources of information. Online platforms in China exacerbate this dichotomy by displaying an individual’s IP address when they post information, even creating a dichotomy between races based on their IP. Address. Since individuals infer the intentions of others based on their IP addresses, nationalism makes it more difficult for people to communicate in public (Dong, 2022). Therefore, regulation of the Internet often involves interference from national governments, and content is often restrictive and one-sided. Information that is favorable to the Government and race-related is usually displayed. This may create racial antagonism and increase inequality between races, which further affects the development of diversity of information on the Internet.
In Conclusion, the emergence and rapid development of the Internet have made it easier for people to access information. Still, it has not been as egalitarian and cooperative as it was intended to be. Many aspects have created racial inequality, and racial inequality has exacerbated the lack of diversity on Internet platforms. Economically, socioeconomic disparities associated with racial discrimination can limit access to the Internet, affecting access to economic opportunities for people in marginalized communities. Culturally, many online platforms and algorithms exhibit racial bias, limiting content visibility from different perspectives. Such bias by Internet platforms may exacerbate discrimination and limit the discoverability of content created by underrepresented groups. Finally, from the political side, platform government controls may make races more antagonistic to each other, further fuelling conflict. Reducing prejudice against interracialism and creating an inclusive online platform society is an essential step in fostering social development.
Mansell, R., & Steinmueller, W. E. (2020). Economic analysis of platforms. In Advanced Introduction to Platform Economics(pp.35-54). Edward Elgar Publishing.
Castells, M. (2002). The Internet galaxy reflections on the Internet, business, and society(pp.247-274). Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199255771.003.0010
Dong, J. (2022, May 18). China’s internet censors try a new trick: Revealing users’ locations.
de Kloet, J., Poell, T., Guohua, Z., & Yiu Fai, C. (2019). The platformization of Chinese Society: infrastructure, governance, and practice. Chinese Journal of Communication, 12(3), 249–256. https://doi.org/10.1080/17544750.2019.1644008
Curtis, B. (2018, September 3). Google at 20: How a search engine became a literal
extension of our mind. The Conversation.https://theconversation.com/google-at-20-how-a-search-engine-became-a-literal-extension-of our-mind-102510
Noble, S. U. (2018). Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism. In A
society, searching (pp. 15–63). NYU Press.