Skip main navigation

Impact on people regardless of race

In this article learn about the potentially racist effects of technologies on people regardless of their race.
© Creative Computing Institute

We’ve looked at the impacts of racist technology on racial minorities and marginalised groups. Now, let’s look at the impacts on people outside those groups since technology can promote racism across all groups, regardless of their race.

Paths to extremism

We already gave the example of how most people who find extremist groups on Facebook do so via Facebook’s own recommendations (1). Studies have shown that YouTube (2) also has the potential to surface radical content. The danger here is that users are exposed to extremism that they may not have intentionally sought, which can lead to the promotion and spread of racist ideologies and recruitment of people into extremist groups.

Vicious cycles of discrimination

Research by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) into the use of algorithms in policing found that there is a risk for police officers to become over-reliant on automation, thereby “undermining their discretion and causing them to disregard other relevant factors”(3). Over-policing and reliance on biased automation and predictive policing algorithms can lead to reinforcing racist stereotypes, and further ingraining racist biases in policing (4).

Can you think of a time when technology had a negative influence on your views or the views of others? Share your thoughts in the comment section below


  1. Jeff Horwitz, 2020. Facebook executives shut down efforts to make the site less divisive, Wall Street Journal.

  2. Manoel Horta Ribeiro, Raphael Ottoni, Robert West, Virgílio A. F. Almeida, Wagner Meira Jr, 2019. Auditing radicalization pathways on YouTube, Cornell University.

  3. Alexander Babuta and Marion Oswald, 2019. Data analytics and algorithmic bias in policing, UK Government.

  4. Justin Weltz, 2019. Over-policing and fairness in machine earning, Pomona College.

© Creative Computing Institute
This article is from the free online

Anti-Racist Approaches in Technology

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education