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23 Nov 2016

Joshua Brustein, Bloomberg (USA)

USA: Study finds racial & gender discrimination on gig economy websites TaskRabbit & Fiverr

"Studies Show Racial and Gender Discrimination Throughout the Gig Economy", 22 Nov 2016

Researchers are finding racial and gender disparities in just about every corner of the on-demand labor market.  A new study showed black people received more negative reviews than white workers on online labor marketplaces TaskRabbit and Fiverr and that people who used TaskRabbit to hire female workers were less likely to leave any feedback at all...“There are limits to what you can do to make your users act differently,”...[T]he study showed TaskRabbit’s platform to be particularly problematic because user feedback influenced where people showed up in the search rankings.  White women and black men appeared lower in rankings...Given that people tend to choose one of the first options presented to them in any online search, this could impact employment prospects...While TaskRabbit acknowledged that it incorporates reviews into the algorithm it uses to decide search rankings, it said they carry relatively little weight...Fiverr also disputed the results of the study...Wilson said companies should strive to quantify the racial disparities on their platforms and write software that explicitly offsets them. He suggested, for instance, ranking black workers higher in search by default...